Lucara digs up 393-carat diamond at Karowe

Lucara digs up 393-carat diamond at Karowe
The 393.5 carat top white Type IIa gem quality diamond. (Image courtesy of Lucara Diamond.)

Canada’s Lucara Diamond (TSX: LUC) has recovered a 393.5-carat diamond from its company’s prolific Karowe mine in Botswana, the seventh stone greater than 300 carats dug up at the operation so far this year. 

The top white Type IIa gem rock, found from direct milling of ore sourced from the M/PK(S) section of the South Lobe, is also third gem-quality +300 carat produced from the unit. The other two are a 341 carat and a 378 carat top white gems, both recovered in January. 

Type II diamonds are found less frequently and are more valuable than Type I diamonds, as they have no measurable nitrogen impurities. This gives them exceptional transparency and brilliance. 

Finds come at a crucial time for Lucara, which has begun the $514 millon underground expansion of the prolific mine

“July’s recoveries continue a trend of strong diamond recoveries in May and June and, combined with several other high-value stones still to be sold, bodes well for future revenue and cash flow potential,” BMO Metals and Mining analysts, Raj Ray, wrote on Friday. 

The finds come at a crucial time for Lucara, which has begun spending on the $514 million underground expansion of Karowe, which began commercial operations in 2012.  

The project, expected to take five years, will extend the mine’s productive life for at least another 13 years after the open pit ceases operations in 2026. 

The development will also allow Lucara to exploit the highest value part of the orebody first and generate over $5.25 billion in gross revenue. 

Expansion funds

The Vancouver-based miner recently completed a couple of major milestones ahead of kicking off underground expansion. On July 12, it secured a $220 million finance facility and, three days later, it closed a C$41.4 million (about $33.1m) equity financing.  

“Given that the remaining capex will be funded from cash flow from current open-pit operations and stockpiles (expected to continue until 2026), ongoing strong performances from the open-pit (as so far seen in 2021) are crucial to further de-risking Karowe underground,” Ray wrote. 

Lucara’s high-value stones 2021 inventory includes two diamonds over 150ct and four pink stones found this month, four >150ct ones recovered in June, six >100ct dug up in May 2021.  

The two diamonds larger than 300-carats recovered in January this year, the 1,758ct Sewelô found in 2019 and the 549ct Sethunya recovered in 2020, add to the impressive list. 

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