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Mothae surpasses projections

by Lesotho Times

Bataung Moeketsi

MOTHAE mine in Mokhotlong has realised US$2.1 million in sales from 7 007 carats of diamonds recovered, 30 percent more than their forecasted production for the third quarter ending 30 September 2019.

The mine also treated 11 percent more ore than it had projected during the same period recording 298 726 tonnes of treated ore.

Australian company Lucapa Diamonds owns 70 percent of Mothae while the remaining 30 percent is controlled by the government.

In a recent statement to the Lesotho Times, Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall said their focus on improving operations and production at Mothae and Lulo mine in Angola have enabled the company deliver robust results.

“Our continued focus on operational and productivity improvements and reductions in operating costs at Mothae and Lulo have enable Lucapa to deliver robust results, including record production of premium-quality diamonds, in the face of global headwinds in the diamond sector,” Mr Weatherall said.

“The decline in global rough diamond demand throughout 2019 brought about by factors including macroeconomic uncertainty, rising inventory and liquidity issues in the midstream has impacted the revenues of all diamond producers and industry sentiment. However, in line with the more recent tender results reported by other producers, we were encouraged to see a distinct uplift in competitive bidding in our most recent Mothae tender, which was reflected in the prices achieved.”

Lucapa said in the statement that mining transitioned to the higher grade and margin southern pit at Mothae.

The move resulted in the recovery of a 64 carat D-colour Type IIa stone “which subsequently became the first commercially produced diamond from Mothae to achieve a sale price in excess of US$1 million”.

“The third run of mine tender of Mothae diamonds was completed in Anterwerp during the quarter. The parcel of 4 476 carats realised gross proceeds of US$1.8 million.

“The fourth tender took total Mothae’s 2019 sales to date to US$13.5 million at an average price per carat of between US$610 and US$750 for diamonds in the +11 sieve fraction.”

Results from quarterly diamond production and the building on the cutting and polishing strategy “leave the Lucapa group on track to achieve the 2020 production target of 60 000 carats of high-value diamonds” from both mines.

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