Diamond values increase at Firestone mine in Lesotho

Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds’ (LON:FDI) economics keep getting stronger, after the company upgraded Wednesday the average value of diamonds from its majority-owned Liqhobong mine in Lesotho.

The base average diamond price, excluding potential large stones, is now expected to reach $107 per carat, with a projected revenue of $2.3 million, compared to the $98/ct estimated by the definitive feasibility study (DFS).

The company improved its precious stones values based on an independent analysis conducted over the past 22 months. The consultants analyzed a large production parcel from Liqhobong's pilot plant, recovered and sold between September 2011 and July 2013, time during which Firestone recovered 325,000 carats.

According to the miner, the definitive feasibility study conducted in 2012 was based on a much smaller sample of 2,500 carats. The results of the latest report, released today, also included nine diamond fragments that were larger than 100 carats. The largest fragment was from a 430 carat, cape yellow diamond, indicating that potential prices of larger stones from the mine could be higher than the current projected value of $156 per carat, , delivering possible project revenue of $3.4-million.

Firestone has a 75% stake in the Liqhobong mine, while the African nation’s government owns the remaining 25%.