Gem Diamonds finds yet another big stone in Lesotho

The 118.74 carats diamond recovered in late April.
The 118.74 carats diamond recovered in late April.

Africa-focused miner Gem Diamonds (LON: GEMD) has unearthed a new major Type II white diamond at its prolific Letšeng mine in Lesotho, barely six days after the previous find.

The 118.74-carat diamond is the fifth greater than 100-carat precious stone recovered this year at the operation, the company said.

Type IIa diamonds are the most valued and collectable precious gemstones, as they contain either very little or no nitrogen atoms in their crystal structure. Boart diamonds are stones of low quality that are used in powder form as an abrasive.

The prolific Letšeng mine is one of the world’s ten largest diamond operations by revenue. At 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, it is also one of the world’s most elevated diamond mines.

Diamond miners are going through a rough patch as US and Chinese demand for diamond jewellery continues to be weak and the popularity of cheaper laboratory grown diamonds continues to rise.

In 2015, man-made diamonds had barely made an appearance as a competitor to natural diamonds. By last year, these stones accounted for more than 10% of the global diamond jewelry market, according to industry specialist Paul Zimnisky.

The market values of small to medium diamond mining companies, including Canada’s Lucara (TSX: LUC), South Africa’s Petra (LON: PDL), and Gem Diamonds itself, are around $100 million or less. This is only about a third or a fourth of the price the large stones they aim to find may be worth.

Source: mining.com

HIGH QUALITY 113 CARAT TYPE II WHITE DIAMOND

Gem Diamonds Limited (LSE: GEMD) is pleased to announce the recovery of a high quality 113 carat white Type II diamond, recovered at the Letšeng mine in Lesotho on 17 February 2024.

A piece of white rock next to a magnifying glass Description automatically generated

Together with the 295 carat high quality Type II white diamond recovered on 8 January 2024 and a 139 carat low quality Boart diamond recovered on 17 January 2024, the 113 carat is the third greater than 100 carat diamond recovered to date this year.

Source: londonstockexchange

Gem Diamonds unearths 125-carat diamond in Lesotho

125 carat rough diamond

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds has found a 125 carat rough stone at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the miner’s second rock over 100 carats mined this year.

The company, known for the recovery of large, high quality stones in 2020, has seen output of high quality diamonds surpassing the 100 carat mark become less frequent over the past year.

In 2021, Gem Diamonds found only six of such diamonds at Letšeng, compared to the 16 it discovered in 2020.

The find comes as prices for small diamonds have jumped about 20% since the start of March, as cutters, polishers and traders struggle to source stones outside Russia.

State owned Russian miner Alrosa, the world’s top diamond producer by output, was hit with US sanctions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Higher prices for lower end stones are good news for miners, but not a game changer, experts say. While every mine is different, a general rule is that 20% of production the best stones account for about 80% of profits.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, the company has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, with 16 of them recovered last year. At an average elevation of 3,100 metres (10,000 feet) above sea level, Letšeng is also one of the world’s highest diamond mines.

Source: mining.com

Lesotho joins the diamond league

Lesotho rough diamonds

The auction came as the Mountain Kingdom explores how to ensure diamond mines are at least 51 percent-owned by locals, which will include the entry of small-scale miners into the sector.

Lesotho’s diamonds are usually auctioned in Antwerp, Belgium. Buyers from as far as the Netherlands and Israel were joined by those from neighbouring South Africa and locals at the inaugural auction.

Launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, the auction sold off diamonds collected from the public and those confiscated by the police in recent months. Of the 493 diamonds auctioned, 140 were voluntarily handed over by the public while 353 were confiscated by the police.

The government offered an amnesty from November 2020 to March 2021 to anyone in possession of undocumented diamonds, allowing them to hand the gems over without fear of prosecution. The auction was held from May 27 to 29.

Mining Minister Serialong Qoo said all revenue from the confiscated diamonds would be forfeited to the state and proceeds from gems voluntarily handed to the government would be paid into the holders’ bank accounts.

“I am very delighted that this day has finally come after it was initially delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a big move as parliament has now embraced the idea of letting Basotho mine with their picks and shovels legally,” said Minister Qoo.

Mining Ministry spokesperson Ms ‘Makananelo Motseko this week said a final report on the auction was being compiled and would be made public.

At the auction, Deputy PM Mr Mokhothu said, “We hope this local auctioning will spell the end for illegal diamond dealing as trade will be done securely and legally. This occasion gives me hope that soon, all of Lesotho’s diamonds will be sold in-country and benefit it economically.”

He also said Lesotho should move towards ensuring that at least 51 percent of shareholding in the diamond mines is held locally while investors would hold the remaining 49 percent.

Source: southerntimesafrica

Gem recovers high-quality 233 ct diamond at Letšeng

233 carat rough diamond at Letšeng

Gem Diamonds has recovered a high quality 233 ct Type II white diamond from its 70% owned Letšeng mine, in Lesotho, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

This follows the recent recovery of a high quality 442 ct Type II diamond, one of the world’s largest gem quality diamonds to be recovered this year.

The company noted in a trading statement published in July that the mine had produced about 43 275 ct of diamonds in the first half of this year.

Source: miningweekly

Miner Finds 442-Carat Diamond That May Be Worth $18 Million

442-Carat Diamond

A small diamond miner that has dug some of the world’s most valuable gems from a mountainous African kingdom has found another huge stone.

Gem Diamonds Ltd. said Friday it had an unearthed a 442-carat diamond at its Letseng mine in Lesotho. While it’s hard to establish a price for such stones before cutters can evaluate them, it could sell for as much as $18 million, Edward Sterck, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, wrote in a note.

Given the rarity of such large stones, demand for big diamonds has traditionally been resilient, even at times when the wider industry has struggled.

The Letseng mine is famous for the size and quality of the diamonds it produces and has the highest average selling price in the world. Two years ago Gem Diamonds found a 910-carat stone, the size of two golf balls, that sold for $40 million.

The find comes as the global diamond industry has been brought to its knees by the pandemic. Jewelry stores have closed and India’s cutting industry, which handles almost all of the world’s stones, has come to a halt. The miners that dominate the industry, De Beers and Russian rival Alrosa PJSC, have seen their rough diamond sales collapse.

“The recovery of this remarkable 442 carat diamond, one of the world’s largest gem quality diamonds to be recovered this year, is further confirmation of the caliber of the Letseng mine and its ability to consistently produce large, high quality diamonds,” Clifford Elphick, Gem’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Source: bloomberg

Big-Stone Recoveries Return as Letšeng Reopens

Gem Diamonds new large rough diamond recoveries

Gem Diamonds has recovered a number of large, high-quality stones at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, all found in the first week after production resumed following the COVID-19 lockdown.

They include a 60-carat, light-yellow, type I diamond, and three D-color, white, type II diamonds weighing 87, 66 and 23 carats, the company said Monday. It also found several diamonds over 10.8 carats.

Between February and March, the miner unearthed four white diamonds weighing 88, 56, 53 and 33 carats. It has also retrieved two diamonds over 100 carats so far this year, and a 13.33-carat pink.

Gem Diamonds restarted production at Letšeng last week after the government allowed the mining sector to reopen following an extended shutdown. Lesotho remains on lockdown until May 5.

Source: Diamonds.net

GEM DIAMONDS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT LARGE DIAMONDS’ PRICES DESPITE MARKET

Gem Diamonds 140 carat rough

Gem Diamonds, which operates the Letšeng diamond mine in Lesotho, has published its sales performance for the first half of the year ended June 20, 2019. Gem Diamonds sold 55,714 carats during the period, achieving an average price of $1,697 per carat – 10% more than the average price for H2 2018. Revenue for the period totaled $41.6 million USD.

During the period, the miner sold a 13.32 carat pink diamond for a Letšeng record of $656,934 per carat, and recovered three diamonds greater than 100 carats. It sold 15 diamonds for more than $1 million each. Gem Diamonds added that it is on track to deliver its targeted $100 million “in incremental revenue, productivity improvements and cost savings over the 4-year period to end 2021”.

Gem Diamonds concluded by announcing that prices for the smaller and commercial goods “have been under pressure for some time with the larger goods having been less affected, although showing recent signs of weakness”. However, the miner expects “Letšeng’s unique, ultra-high-quality goods to be less vulnerable over time to market pressures”.

Source: israelidiamond