Lucara gets $69 million from first diamond sale, amid tough market conditions
Canada's Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC) has raised almost $69 million in its first exceptional tender of diamonds from its Karowe mine, Botswana, for 2015 amid market conditions that have affected prices for the coveted stones and hurt miners' profits.
The Africa-focused miner said it sold all 14 diamonds totalling 1,674 carats, for a bit over $41,000 per carat.
But the star of the show was a 341.9 carat Type IIa diamond —unveiled in April —, which sold for $20.55 million. It was closely followed by another significant stone, a 269.7 carat diamond, which fetched $16.54 million.
The diamond industry, until recently one of the very few to escape a trend of falling commodity prices, has lost some of its glitter in recent months. Rough diamond prices have fallen 9.4% in the past year, while polished gems have been consistently losing value this year, trading down 6.2% in the last three months.
Lucara’s President and CEO, William Lamb, remains optimistic, especially after the sale completed Thursday.
"This is another amazing result, demonstrating not just the sustainable quality of the diamonds being produced but also the robustness of the exceptional stone market,” Lamb said in a statement.
The Vancouver-based company is about to close the sale of its 75% stake in Mothae project in Lesotho for $8.5 million in cash, to London-listed Paragon Diamonds (LON:PRG), which plans to develop the mine in parallel to its own Lemphane project.
Once approved by the Lesotho’s government, the transaction will also yield a payment for Lucara equal to 5% of the profits achieved from the sale of the polished stones. Additionally, the miner will get 5% of the profits achieved from the sale of rough diamonds not selected for polishing.
Images courtesy of Lucara Diamonds.