Category Archives: DIAMOND MINES

Yet Another huge diamond unearthed in Lesotho mine

Gem Diamonds discovered this high quality 126-carat, D colour Type IIa rock at Letšeng

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) unveiled Thursday a 126-carat rock unearthed at its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the latest in a string of major discoveries at the operation this year.

The finding of the high quality D colour Type IIa diamond comes barely a month after the company discovered two massive diamonds at the same mine —  a 151.52-carat Type I yellow rock and a high quality 104.73-carat, D-colour Type IIa stone.

It also follows the recovery of a 114-carat diamond in April and an 80-carat, D-colour Type-II diamond found in May — one of the highest-quality diamonds to come out of the Letšeng mine.

Type IIa diamonds contain very little or no nitrogen atoms, which places them among the most expensive stones.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found four of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes of the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

Henry Sapiecha


Gem Diamonds finds two large rough diamonds at flagship mine in Lesotho Africa

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) has discovered two diamonds bigger than 100 carats at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, which should help the company boost revenue and investors confidence.

The two massive diamonds are a 151.52-carat Type I yellow rock and a high quality 104.73-carat, D-colour Type IIa stone, the London-based miner said in a statement.

The last time Gem Diamonds had made a significant discovery at its Letšeng mine before April this year was in 2015.The findings come on the heels of other key discoveries at the mine. In April, the company announced the recovery of a 114-carat diamond and last month it found one of the highest-quality diamonds to come out of the Letšeng mine — an 80-carat, D-colour Type-II diamond.

The last time Gem Diamonds had found a significant diamond in Lesotho was in 2015, when it unearthed an “exceptional” 357-carat rock, later sold for $19.3 million.

Investors reacted positively to the news, with the stock was trading at 1.64% higher at 93 pence around 2:00PM GMT.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, the company has found four of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered, which makes of the Lesotho mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

Henry Sapiecha

Alrosa finds 62.75-carat diamond at prolific Jubilee pipe mine in Russia

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output, said Tuesday it found a 65.75-carat precious rock at the Jubilee kimberlite pipe of its Aikhalsky Mining unit in Yakutia, northeast Russia.

The transparent crystal, the miner said, has an octahedron-shape, light-yellowish tint and its measures 23 x 16 x 17 mm.

Alrosa’s Jubilee pipe is famous for its large finds. Several diamonds from 50 to 138 carats were recovered from the deposit in the past two years, including a 76.07-carat diamond, which was named in honour of 70 Years of the Soviet Union’s Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 against Nazi Germany.

The company’s business unit Aikhal Mining accounted for over 30% of Alrosa’s total raw diamonds in 2016. It generated 12.2 million carats, worth $1.2 billion, according to the firm.

Henry Sapiecha

Diamcor just found this rare green diamond at S. Africa project

Canada’s Diamcor Mining (TSX-V:DMI) said Tuesday it has found a 5.36-carat green gem quality octahedron rough diamond from its Krone-Endora project in South Africa, located next to De Beers’ Venetia mine, the world’s third largest.

While the significance of this rough green diamond is currently uncertain, the company said that given the rarity and potential high value of green diamonds, an analysis of the recently-found rock will be performed over the coming weeks.

The stone has been shipped to Antwerp along with other rough diamonds recovered from the ongoing efforts and processing underway at the project, Diamcor said.

Krone-Endora previously belonged to diamond giant De Beers, but Diamcor officially acquired the project in February 2011.

Diamcor and De Beers mines in Limpopo, South Africa. (Image courtesy of Diamcor Mining )

The project is located directly adjacent to De Beers’ Venetia mine, which is South Africa’s largest diamond mine, accounting for over 50% of the country’s annual output.

Prices for coloured diamonds have increased in the past two years. In June 2016, a massive intense blue diamond, known as The Cullinan Dream, fetched $25.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, breaking all records and becoming the most expensive gem of its kind ever sold at auction.

And last month in Hong Kong, the 59.60-carat “Pink Star” sold for a record $71.2 million, a price that highlighted the galloping market for coloured gems.

Henry Sapiecha


Lucara gets almost $18M for fragment of its massive ‘Lesedi La Rona’ diamond

Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC), the company that hit the jackpot in 2015 after finding the world’s second-largest diamond, just got $17.5 million for a piece that broke from that rock, the now historic 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona.”

To date, Lucara has sold 145 diamonds for more than $1 million each.The 373.7-carat diamond, sold during the Vancouver-based miner’s $54.8 million recent tender to luxury jeweller Graff Diamonds, was one of 15 large and high value rocks offered by the company.

Just like the 1,109-carat diamond it found in 2015, all the stones sold this week were mined at Lucara’s Karowe mine in Botswana, which has been yielding massive rocks as of late.

Last year, the miner sold one of those mammoths — the 813-carat “The Constellation” — for $63 million, setting a new record for a rough gem.

It wasn’t that lucky when it came to three-billion-year-old “Lesedi La Rona,” meaning “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana, as the rock failed to sell at a Sotheby’s auction in June last year.

This is the 373.72-carat rock, once part of the second largest gem quality diamond ever discovered. (Image courtesy of Graff Diamonds.)

The gem, second in size only to the Cullinan diamond in the British Crown jewels, was expected to go for at least $70 million. The highest bid, however, was around $61 million, leaving it in Lucara’s hands.

To date, the company has sold 145 diamonds for more than $1 million each, bringing in revenues of more than $528 million, its President and CEO William Lamb said in the statement.

Botswana, the focus of Lucara, is the world’s largest producer of diamonds and the trade has transformed it into a middle-income nation.

Henry Sapiecha

These were the world’s top producing diamond mines in 2016

While diamond industry experts warn that demand is expected to outstrip supply as early as 2019, the largest mines keep producing the coveted rocks at full steam.

Here are last year’s top 10 diamond mines in terms of output and value, based on data compiled by expert Paul Zimnisky.

1. Jwaneng, Botswana

Produced 11,975,000 carats, worth $2,347 million

Jwaneng, the richest diamond mine in the world, is located in south-central Botswana in the Naledi river valley of the Kalahari. It’s 2 kilometres across at its widest point and patrolled by colossal 300-tonne trucks that labour up the terraced slopes.

Nicknamed “the Prince of Mines”, Jwaneng was opened in 1982, as the diamond trade helped Botswana go from being one of the world’s poorest countries to one of Africa’s wealthiest.

2. Jubilee, Russia

Produced 9,231,000 carats, worth $1,431 million

Belonging to ALROSA, the world’s top diamond miner by output in carats, the Jubilee mine (also known as Yubileinaya), has been in production since 1989. It’s among the world’s biggest diamond mines by area.

3. International, Russia

Produced 3,948,000 carats, worth $829 million

Also known as Internatsionalny, this underground mine has been in operations since 1999. ALROSA estimates the deposit will run out of diamonds by 2022.

4. Orapa, Botswana

Produced 7,931,000 carats, worth $753 million

The Orapa mine is the ninth largest diamond mine in the world by reserve and the world’s largest mine by area. It has been in production since 1971. It’s owned by Debswana, a joint venture of De Beers and the Botswana Government.

Currently Orapa is mining at a depth of 250 metres and is expected to reach 450 metres by 2026.

5. Debmarine, Namibia

Produced 1,169,000 carats, worth $585 million

De Beers’ Debmarine uses a fleet of five specialized marine mining vessels to screen material recovered from the ocean floor.

These deposits are then airlifted by helicopter for further processing on shore. It’s Namibia’s largest diamond producer, accounting for 70% of the country’s output of these stones.

6. Catoca, Angola

Produced 6,700,000 carats*, worth $570 million

This diamond mine is the world’s fourth largest. It’s owned by a consortium of international mining interests, with Endiama (the state mining company of Angola) having a majority stake.

* = Figure not officially confirmed

7. Nyurbinskaya, Russia

Produced 5,001,000 carats, worth $565 million

The Nyurba Mining and Processing Division (MPD) is one of the youngest enterprises of ALROSA. It operates at the Nakyn ore field, which includes the Nyurbinskya and Botuobinsky open-pits, and two same-name alluvial placers.

8. Diavik, Canada

Produced 6,658,000 carats, worth $539 million.

Operated by Rio Tinto, which owns 60% of the mine, Diavik began production in 2003 and has an annual output of some 6-7 million carats of predominantly large, white gem-quality diamonds. It’s Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. Dominion Diamond owns the remaining 40%.

9. Ekati, Canada

Produced 5,200,000 carats, worth $463 million

The Ekati Diamond Mine (named after the Tlicho word meaning “fat lake”) is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. Located about 300km north-east of Yellowknife, near Lac de Gras in Canada’s North-West Territories, is run by Dominion Diamond Corporation (DDC)

10. Mir, Russia

Produced 3,191,000 carats $463 million

Although open pit mining at this operation ended in 2004, ALROSA built a series of underground tunnels, which have continued to yield high-quality rough diamonds. The remaining pit is so huge it creates a vortex potentially strong enough to suck helicopters into its depth

Henry Sapiecha


Shares in Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) shot up in London Wednesday after it announced it had unearthed an 110-carat yellow diamond, it’s biggest find so far, at its newly developed mine in Lesotho.

The company, which is just ramping up production at its Liqhobong operation, said the finding confirmed its belief that the deposit holds large stones.

Investors reacted positively to the news, with the stock climbing as much as 13% early in the day and trading 9.7% higher to 49.10p at 1:38PM GMT.

Firestone spent $185 million building Liqhobong, which boasts over 11 million carats in reserve. The total open pit resource contains over 17 million carats down to 393 metres.

Since production began at Liqhobong in October, and before today’s announcement, the company had recovered 20 stones larger than 10.8 carats, the industry cut off for an exceptional stone, including a 37-carat white diamond.


Henry Sapiecha

World’s largest new diamond mine starts commercial production

Gahcho Kué, owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is now full steam ahead in production.

Gahcho Kué, co-owned by De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds, is located at Kennady Lake, about 280 km northeast of Yellowknife image

Canada’s Gahcho Kué mine, the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years, reached commercial production Tuesday, its owners De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds announced.

Located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, near the Arctic Circle, the mine is expected to produce around 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its 12-year lifetime.

Gahcho Kué was only the sixth diamond opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing such gems.Production ramp-up at Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), began in August — a month before the mine’s official opening.

Thursday’s announcement marks an important operational milestone and also comes slightly ahead of schedule, the partners said in a joint statement.

“Today marks a significant landmark for De Beers in Canada as Gahcho Kué becomes an important contributor to the group’s global production,” De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said in the statement.

The mine “secures Canada’s position as one of the world’s leading diamond producers,” added Patrick Evans, President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds.

It’s estimated that Gahcho Kué will contribute $5.2 billion to the territorial economy until 2028, according to a socio-economic impact report prepared by De Beers.

Another reason why the mine’s opening is important for Canada’s economy is the fact that two of the country’s major diamond operations — Diavik and Ekati — are approaching the end of their productive lives. Gahcho Kué, although smaller than those mines, is expected to offset the production drop-off.

The mine, estimated to be one of the world’s 10 biggest diamond mines, is the sixth precious rocks operation opened in Canada in the almost 19 years the country has been producing diamonds.


Henry Sapiecha

Another large diamond dug from Lulo mine in Angola… 227-carat white rough

Weighing 227 carats, latest gemstone from Lucapa’s Angolan diamond mine is its second largest to date

lucapa_227-carat-diamond image

Big, valuable gemstones that may eventually get cut into smaller diamonds keep getting discovered in Angola.

Today Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. (ASX:LOM) said it has uncovered yet another epic rock from its Lulo mine, the second largest to be pulled from deep inside the earth at Lulo.

According to Lucapa, the 227-carat stone was found in a new mining block, indicating that the entire 50-kilometre length of the Cacuilo River is diamondiferous.The stone weighing 227 carats, discovered by Lucapa and its partners, Empresa Nacional de Diamantes EP, and Rosas & Petales, is a Type IIa D-Colour gem. It’s the same type of diamond that Lucapa recovered in September, in that case weighing 172.6 carats. The largest diamond to come out of the mine was a 404.2-carat monster that Lucapa unveiled a year ago, and which Lucapa later sold for AUD$22.5 million. The huge rock bested Angola’s previous record for its largest diamond, the Angolan Star, a 217.4-carat gem recovered in 2007.

According to Lucapa, the 227-carat stone was found in a new mining block, indicating that the entire 50-kilometre length of the Cacuilo River is diamondiferous. The alluvial diamond area is among Lucapa’s 3,000 square kilometre Lulo concession, and has so far only been about 20% explored by Lucapa and its partners. The gem was discovered using a new XRT large-diamond recovery circuit recently installed at Lulo.

So far Lucapa has unearthed seven diamonds over 100 carats from the Lulo diamond project. Located 150km from Alrosa’s Catoca mine, the world’s fourth largest diamond mine, Lulo hosts Type IIa diamonds which account for less than 1% of global supply.

Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.


Henry Sapiecha

Mountain Province just found this massive diamond at Gahcho Kué in Canada

This 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond is the largest of its kind recovered to date at the mine. (Image courtesy of Mountain Province Diamonds)

mountain-province-just-found-massive-diamond-at-gahcho-kue-67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond, image

Mountain Province Diamonds (TSX:MPV), which holds a 49% stake in Gahcho Kué, one of Canada’s newest diamond mine and the world’s largest of its kind in the last 13 years, has just found a massive gem at the operation.

The 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron diamond is the largest of its kind recovered to date at the mine.The company said the 67.87-carat gem quality octahedron rock, unearthed during production ramp-up, is the largest gem quality diamond recovered to date at Gahcho Kué, which is one of the world’s 10 biggest diamond mines.

The company’s President and CEO, Patrick Evans, said production ramp-up at the remote mine, which is also the world’s highest grade new diamond operation, is progressing well despite some recent disruptions caused by extremely cold conditions during December that impacted the mine’s conveyor systems. He added that Gahcho Kué was on track to achieve commercial production on schedule during the current quarter.

Situated almost 300 kilometres east of Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the mine opened up in September last year and has so far provided a $341 million (Cdn$440 million) boost to the territories’ economy. It has also contributed a further $272 million (Cdn$350 million) to the rest of Canada, according to DeBeers, which holds a 51% stake in the mine.

Mountain Province also announced that its second diamonds sale of the year will take place in Antwerp, Belgium, from February 20 to March 1.

First blast at Gahcho Kué diamond mine image


Henry Sapiecha