Gem Diamonds finds another huge diamond at Lesotho mine

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) unveiled a 115-carat rock Tuesday 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 follows the recovery of five other diamonds of over 100 carats so far this year at the same mine, in which Gem Diamonds has a 70% stake with the government of Lesotho owning the remaining 30%.

In April, the company unearthed a 114-carat diamond and only a month later it found an 80-carat, D-colour Type-II diamond — one of the highest-quality diamonds to come out of the Letšeng mine.

Finding follows the recovery of five other diamonds of over 100 carats so far this year at Letšeng mine.

Came June and Gem Diamonds was once again announcing the recovery of two diamonds bigger than 100 carats at the same operation — a 151.52-carat Type I yellow rock and a high quality 104.73-carat, D-colour Type IIa stone.

The announcement was followed in July by yet another major discovery at Letšeng — a 126-carat high quality D colour Type IIa diamond.

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 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.

Investors reacted positively to the news and the stock was trading 1.38% higher in London at 72.25p by 1:27PM local time. Year-to-date, however, the company’s shares have lost more than 34% of their value due to weaker diamond demand from key markets, which has hurt prices.

Gem Diamonds finds another huge diamond at Lesotho mine

The Letšeng Legacy, discovered in 2007, is currently ranked as one of the largest rough white diamonds ever recovered. The 493-carat rock was sold at an auction in Antwerp for US$10.4 million in November that year. (Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.)