24 March 2021 – ASX listed Lucapa Diamond Company has completed an expansion project at its Mothae Kimberlite diamond mine in Lesotho. Lucapa owns the mine in partnership with the Government of Lesotho.
The expansion project was undertaken to increase nameplate capacity by 45% from ~1.1 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) to ~1.6Mtpa. According to Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall, the processing plant was handed back to the production team after the installation of a new scrubber bypass conveyor, a new primary jaw crusher and other associated upgrades. The project was completed on-time, within budget and with no safety incidents recorded. The upgraded processing plant is being re-commissioned and is being ramped up to its new increased capacity. It is expected that Mothae will complete this ramp up by the end of the month and will then operate at the new expanded capacity from the beginning of quarter two of 2021.
“To complete the Mothae expansion project despite all the challenges created by Covid-19, is a credit to the Mothae management, staff and contractor teams. Lucapa and the Government of Lesotho look forward to the increased recoveries and economy of scale benefits this expansion was designed to provide,” says Wetherall.
Lucapa is a niche diamond producer with high-value mines in Angola (Lulo) and Lesotho (Mothae). The Lulo alluvial mine and Mothae kimberlite mine both produce large and high-value diamonds, with >75% of revenues generated from the recovery of +4.8 carat stones.
Lulo has produced 19 +100 carat diamonds to date, including a 404 carat D-colour Type IIa stone, and is one of the highest average USD per carat alluvial diamond producers in the world. Lucapa and its Project Lulo partners have also received highly encouraging results from their search to discover the primary hard-rock source of the high-value Lulo alluvial diamonds.
The 1.1Mtpa Mothae kimberlite mine in diamond-rich Lesotho commenced commercial mining and processing operations in January 2019. It produced >30,000 carats in its first year of production and 5 +100 carat diamonds to date, including a 215 carat D-colour Type IIa stone.
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