Firestone shares shoot up after finding 46-carat diamond in Lesotho

Shares in Africa-focused Firestone Diamonds (LON:FDI) shot up more than 14% on Friday after the company announced it had recovered a 46-carat white diamond at its 75%-owned Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho.

The gem-quality stone was recovered undamaged, the miner said, and will be sold at the next tender in January.

Firestone, one of the four African diamond producers part a potential four-way merger, showed optimism about the outlook for smaller, lower value diamonds, as it is seeing prices for those types of stones stabilize.

The gem-quality stone was recovered undamaged and will be sold at the next tender in January.

"The recovery of the white 46 carat stone is good news as we start mining across the pit towards the northern side of the orebody over the coming months," chief executive Paul Bosma said in the statement.

In a research report titled "Consolidating African diamond mining," German bank Berenberg recently outlined the benefits of a four-way merger that would see Petra Diamonds, Gem Diamonds, Lucara Diamond and Firestone Diamonds become one main force in the diamond industry in southern Africa.

The new company, Berenberg Economics said, would focus on large, high-quality gems and would have operations in South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Lesotho.

The merged miner would produce 5 million carats a year, or 3% of the total global output, and account for 8% of diamond supply by value.