Gem Diamonds finds 183-carat rough at Letšeng mine in Lesotho

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation. (Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.)

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds’ (LON:GEMD) said on Tuesday it had recovered a 183-carat, white, Type IIa diamond from its 70%-owned Letšeng mine in Lesotho.

Alongside the “exceptional” stone, the company found two other large, high-quality diamonds weighing 89 and 70 carats, respectively.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each

Analysts at investment bank Berenberg said that while the 183-carat diamond showed signs of breakage, it could fetch more than $5 million.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

The last stone over 100 carats Gem Diamonds unearthed at the mine was a yellow, type I diamond weighing 114 carats, in December last year.

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.

Gem Diamonds finds 183 carat rough at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho
The 183 carats, white, Type IIa “exceptional” diamond. (Image courtesy of Gem Diamonds.)

The biggest rough ever found was the 3,106-carat Cullinan, dug near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905. It was later cut into several stones, including the First Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa, which are part of Britain’s Crown Jewels held in the Tower of London.

Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) 1,758-carat Sewelô, found in 2019, holds the second-biggest diamond in record tittle, while the same company’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 995-carat Excelsior are considered the third- and fourth-largest diamonds ever found.

In October, Gem Diamonds announced that the Lesotho government had renewed the Letšeng mining lease for another 10 years, and granted it exclusive rights for further renewals. 

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