December 14, 2017

Lesotho’s Letšeng mine recovers several 100-ct-plus diamonds

Letšeng Diamonds                                 Photo/Courtesry of Gem diamonds

The Letšeng diamond mine, in Lesotho, recovered several diamonds larger than 100 ct during the first half of 2017, with LSE-listed diamond miner Gem Diamonds upbeat that this trend will continue for the remainder of the year.

These gems include the 114.38 ct Type II, the 126 ct D-colour Type IIa and the 104.73 ct white diamonds, as well as the 151.52 ct yellow diamond.

The openpit diamond mine, in the Maluti Mountains, comprises two kimberlite pipes within 200 m of each other.

Mining is performed by Lesotho-based mining contracting company, Matekane Group of Companies Mining, primary crushing is undertaken by Gem Diamonds, while the mine’s two crushing plants are operated by Johannesburg-based engineering and project delivery company DRA.

Gem Diamonds undertakes the final recovery of the diamonds at Letšeng’s sort house, as well as their sales and marketing.

The uncut diamonds are sent to the company’s sales, marketing and manufacturing division in Antwerp, Belgium, where the gems are graded for sale.

Gem Diamonds CEO and founder, Clifford Elphick , the company run an auction process aimed towards achieving the highest possible price.

The mine has a current life span to 2038. However, Elphick says  the mine will have to eventually become an underground operation, with work expected to start on the transition in the mid-2020s.

The company has engaged in high-level discussions on this development, which includes the timing of the transition and the new configuration of the mine.


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