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Lucapa unearths 172.6-carat diamond, second big find in a week

The 172.6-carat D-colour, Type IIa diamond discovered at Lucapa Diamond’s Lulo mine in 2016. Image courtesy of Lucapa Diamond Company.

Is 2016 the year of the “rock”? It certainly seems like it, with another 100+carat diamond unveiled today by Lucapa Diamond Company Ltd. (ASX:LOM)

The Perth-based diamond miner was quick to announce the discovery of the 172.6-carat D-colour, Type IIa stone from its Lulo mine in Angola. The rare gem tops the 104-carat stone, also a D-colour Type IIa, which Lulo pulled on September 21 from Lulo.

And earlier this month, Lucapa stirred imaginations with the recovery of a 38.6-carat pink diamond. The coloured stone is the largest “fancy” pink diamond recovered to date from Lulo, surpassing a 28.5-carat light pink diamond, which sold as part of a parcel of other rocks for a total of AUD$5.8 million said the company, .

In February Lucapa found what it said is the largest diamond ever recovered in Angola, a 404.2-carat stone which sold for AUD$22.5 million. The huge rock bested Angola’s previous record for its largest diamond, the Angolan Star, a 217.4-carat gem recovered in 2007.

So far Lucapa has unearthed six diamonds over 100 carats from the Lulo diamond project. Located 150km from Alrosa’s Catoca mine, the world’s fourth largest diamond mine, Lulo hosts Type IIa diamonds which account for less than 1% of global supply.

Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume. Its industry, which began a century ago under Portuguese colonial rule, is successfully emerging from a long period of difficulty as a result of a civil war that ended in 2002.

Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC) has also had a banner year of diamond discoveries. Vancouver-based Lucara uncovered the 803-carat Constellation diamond – which is the world’s most expensive rough diamond – last November from its Karowe mine in Botswana. The gem sold in May for a record $63 million. Lucara made headlines with an even bigger diamond also dug from Karowe, the 1,109-carat “Lesedi La Rona”  (or “our light” in the Tswana language spoken in Botswana). However that stone, which was expected to fetch $70 million, failed to sell at auction and Lucara is still searching for a buyer.