Lucara Diamond Corp. has unearthed a 549-carat white diamond at its Karowe mine, the fourth-largest stone in the history of the Botswana deposit.
The unbroken stone, which is of “exceptional purity,” is the first large diamond Lucara has recovered using its Mega Diamond Recovery (MDR) equipment, the miner said Wednesday. The unit, which the miner commissioned in 2017, is specifically designed to recover large stones early in the extraction process to reduce the risk of breakage.
The rough stone is worth $15 million to $20 million, according to an estimate by Berenberg investment bank. However, it could potentially sell for more, the bank added.
The diamond came from the high-value EM/PK(S) portion of discovery of Karowe’s lucrative south lobe, Lucara noted. The same area yielded a 176-carat, gem-quality stone earlier this year, and was also the source of the 1,758-carat Sewelô, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation.
“Lucara is extremely pleased to be starting off 2020 with the recovery of two large, high-quality diamonds that build on the positive momentum generated following the completion of a strong fourth-quarter sale in December,” Lucara CEO Eira Thomas said.
Lucara has retrieved six diamonds over 100 carats since the beginning of the year. It will announce its plans for the sale of the 549-carat and 176-carat diamonds shortly.
The miner’s share price rose 4% in early trading Thursday following the announcement.