Lucapa acquires Merlin diamond project in Australia

One of diamonds found in 2017 at Merlin diamond mine in Australia’s Northern Territory. (Image courtesy of Merlin Diamonds.)

Lucapa Diamond (ASX: LOM) announced that it has entered into a binding asset sale agreement for the acquisition of a 24km2 mining lease and a 283km2 exploration tenement encompassing the mining lease and associated equipment and assets — the Merlin Assets — from Merlin Operations Pty.

Merlin Operations is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Merlin Diamonds Limited, which is in liquidation. The Merlin Tenements are located in the Northern Territory of Australia, approximately 720km southeast of Darwin.

Merlin is home to Australia’s largest mined rough diamond on record and has the potential to be the
only producing diamond mine in Australia, following the closure of Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle mine in 2020, after 37 years in production.

The strategic acquisition is supported by a A$20 million ($15.5m) private placement plus a share purchase plan to raise up to A$3 million ($2.3m).

The acquisition price of A$8.5m cash represents a ~A$2/ carat multiple on Merlin’s existing 4.4m
carat JORC compliant resource and complements Lucapa’s existing portfolio, the company said, adding a near-term development opportunity with an existing 4.4m carat mineral resource estimate in Australia to Lucapa’s two existing producing assets in Angola and Lesotho.

The ~300km2 tenement package also comes with significant exploration upside, Lucapa said, through over 70 unresolved anomalies in areas where all kimberlite discoveries have been diamondiferous.