Gem Diamonds, Lucapa kick off 2018 with massive findings

The rival companies have unearthed three diamonds larger than 100 carats each

Diamond miners have started the year off on the right foot as two Africa-focused producers announced Monday the recovery of three huge diamonds, each bigger than 100 carats.

Gem Diamonds' (LON:GEMD) unearthed a 117-carat and a 110-carat D color Type IIa diamonds at its flagship Letšeng mine in Lesotho, bringing the number of 100-carat-plus stones the company has found at the operation since early 2017 to nine.

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.

Australia’s Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM), in turn, has recovered two diamonds — a 103-carat and a 830-carat — at its Lulo mine in Angola. The operation has so far bored massive gems, including a 404.2-carat white rock found last year, which is considered the largest diamond ever recovered in Angola and the biggest ever found by an Australian company.

Gem Diamonds, Lucapa kick off 2018 with massive findings

The 103-carat diamond is the 9th +100 carat diamond recovered to date from Lulo, the largest being a 404- carat stone that sold for $16 million in 2016. (Image: Lucapa.)

Lulo is located 150 km from Alrosa's Catoca mine, the world's fourth largest diamond operation. It hosts type-2a diamonds, which account for less than 1% of global supply.

Both companies saw their shares jump on the news. Gem Diamonds' stock was up 7.2% early Monday at 82 pence, while Lucapa closed 5% higher at 21 cents.