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Second-tier companies: Lucara Diamond Corporation, a rising star in global diamond mining

24 august 2020

Lucara Diamond Corporation is one of the newly established and rapidly growing diamond mining companies. The company owns 60% of the AK6 kimberlite project at the Karowe mine in Botswana developed by its wholly owned Boteti Mining Limited.

Lucara Diamond supplies rough diamonds to the global market through its sorting facility in Gaborone, Botswana, and is one of the world's largest diamond producers by value. Lucara Diamond is a member of the Lundin Group of companies and is listed as ‘LUC’ at the Nasdaq Stockholm and Botswana Stock Exchanges.

The Karowe deposit is located in Central Botswana on the northern edge of the Kalahari Desert, approximately 20 km from Lethlakane. Diamond mining began at the deposit at the end of 2011. The Karowe mine was fully commissioned in Q2 2012.

The Karowe mine is currently the largest production unit of Lucara Diamond Corporation, and the sale of its high-quality large type IIa diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats as well as very rare type II blue diamonds provides a significant increase in the value of sales of their core products.

For large diamond recovery, a beneficiation technology is used at the Karowe mine to avoid damaging the stones, with staged crushing and beneficiation using the XRT machines, from a particle size of 60 mm to 8 mm. The diamond-containing product with a particle size of 8 to 1.25 mm is enriched through dense-media separation using X-ray separators to upgrade diamond content. In addition, the company changed its technology - using its experience in identifying possible occurrence of large diamonds - to bring the upper size limit to 100 mm and it fitted out the beneficiation plant with additional equipment.

Table 1 shows Lucara Diamond Corporation’s technical and economic performance in 2013-2019 after it reached its design capacity, as well as the forecast estimates for 2020.

Table 1

Diamond production and sales by Lucara Diamond Corporation, 2013-2019

analyt_24082020_eng.png

Thus, Lucara Diamond Corporation is a unique company among the global diamond miners, its revenue is at the level of the first-tier companies due to the recovery of large-size stones, with relatively small volumes of diamond mining (350-400 thousand carats). At the same time, the recovery of large size stones due to the diamond-saving technology is widely used. To date, more than 100 stones of over 100 carats have already been recovered. It is also worth noting the value of diamonds from the Karowe mine that are classified as rare type IIa stones as well as very rare type II blue diamonds, which gives a high value to the stones sold.

Taking into account the existing diamond reserves at Karowe, the prospects for its development amid the downturn in the global diamond mining seem promising.

Yu. G. Danilov, Independent expert and analyst, Ph. D.

S. P. Leontiev, Senior lecturer, Institute of Mathematics and Informatics at the North-Eastern Federal University named after M. K. Ammosov, doctoral student