Record-breaking stones boost Gem Diamonds sales

Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) revealed that the 10 rough, larger-than-100-carats diamonds that its Letšeng mine produced in the first six months of 2018 helped boost the company's sales by 43 per cent to $169.2 million.

Rough stones from Letšeng, which is located in northern Lesotho, achieved an average price of $2,742 per carat, almost $700 more than last year's sale price.

The highest price achieved was $62,433 per carat for a 2.26-carat pink diamond. The highest price achieved for a white diamond was $56,028 per carat for a 66.27 carat, Type IIa, diamond. The 910-carat Lesotho Legend, which is the company’s largest find to date, sold for $40 million in March or $43,912 per carat.

Some 25 stones produced at Letšeng were sold for more than $1 million each, the U.K.-based miner said in a press release.

These results reflect the 174-per-cent hike Gem Diamonds experienced in the first quarter of the year thanks to strong demand for its rough rocks and the sale of the Legend, the fifth-largest diamond ever found.

In terms of volume, overall sales climbed 8 per cent to 61,696 carats in the first half of 2018. Total production from Letšeng was 61,596 carats, recovered from 2.5 million tonnes of ore.

"We are delighted to see the continuation in the recoveries of large diamonds during the period with a record ten diamonds greater than 100 carats recovered. This trend continued into Q3 2018 with the eleventh diamond greater than 100 carats recovered in July, now equalling the highest number of these recoveries in a single year. Greatly improved recoveries combined with the discovery and subsequent sale of the Lesotho Legend has generated a strong financial performance for the first half," the company's CEO Clifford Elphick said in the media statement.

In the same brief, the executive revealed that a formal sale process has begun to sell Gem Diamonds' Ghaghoo mine in Botswana.