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Lucapa finds Angola mine’s sixth-largest white diamond

The 160 carat white Type IIa diamond. (Image courtesy of Lucapa Diamond.)

Australia’s Lucapa Diamond (ASX: LOM) has recovered a 160-carat white Type IIa diamond at its prolific Lulo mine in Angola, the sixth-largest recovered at the operation to date.

The diamond was found at the same alluvial mining block as the Lulo Rose, a 170-carat pink-coloured diamond believed to be the largest of its kind found in Angola in 300 years.

Lucapa has a 40% stake in the Lulo mine, which hosts the world’s highest dollar-per-carat alluvial diamonds. The rest is held by Angola’s national diamond company (Endiama) and Rosas & Petalas, a private entity.

The partners have now recovered 28 stones exceeding 100 carats, with the Lulo Rose the fifth largest, regardless of its colour, found at the mine.

In 2016, the operation yielded the largest ever diamond recovered in Angola — a 404-carat white stone later named the “4th February Stone.”

Chief executive officer Stephen Wetherall told delegates at a conference on Friday that his company was working to discover the source of the large stones in Angola.

“Over eight years of consistent commercial mining, we have been recovering large, irregular shapes and high value diamonds consistently. Size and shape matters. Why? Because it’s an indicator of proximity to source,” Wetherall said in his presentation.

He also said the diamond market fundamentals are strong and will remain so as supply continues to decrease.

According to Lucapa, 177 million carats were produced in 2005, compared to only 116 million last year. The 2020 closure of Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle diamond mine, the main global source of high-quality pink diamonds over the past three decades, and the imminent closure of Canada’s Diavik and Ekati mines, will accentuate this trend, Wetherall said.

Lucapa estimates that, as no new mines are being developed to make up for lost production, 15% of the global diamond supply will disappear from the market by 2030.