Lucara strikes again with 378 ct diamond at Karowe

Lucara says the find is a further testament to the strong resource and process circuit performance at Karowe.

It’s the 55th stone over 200 carats recovered at Karowe since it began commercial operations in 2012.

“The 378 carat joins a rare and special lineage of exceptional, high value diamonds recovered at Karowe and continues to highlight the wonderful diamond potential of Botswana,” chief executive Eira Thomas said in the statement. 

BMO Capital Markets analyst Ray Raj said the diamond, the 55th stone over 200 carats recovered at Karowe since it began commercial operations in 2012, could fetch over $15 million.

Previous historic recoveries include the 342-carat Queen of the Kalahari, the 549-carat Sethunya, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona found in 2015, and the 1758-carat Sewelô, recovered in 2019.

Beyond Sewelô, the only larger diamond ever unearthed is the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1905. The Cullinan was later cut into smaller stones, some of which now form part of British royal family’s crown jewels.

Thomas noted that the continued and consistent recovery of large diamonds at Karowe comes at a critical time for the sector. It also provides  strength and additional foundation to the opportunity to finance and build the underground expansion, she said.

Karowe’s highest value section

Botswana renewed Lucara’s mining license earlier this month for another 25 years, which allowed the company to move the Karowe’s underground expansion project to its execution phase.

“With the sales process for the 549ct/998ct stones recovered 2020 also to be concluded in 2021, Lucara’s cash flow potential is looking strong which is likely to support efforts to secure a financing package for the underground expansion,” BMO’s Raj wrote in a note to investors.

The $514 million-underground extension of the mine is expected to take five years and extend Karowe’s productive life for at least another 13 years after the open pit ceases operations in 2026.

The development will allow Lucara to exploit the highest value part of the orebody first and generate over $5.25 billion in gross revenue.

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