Gem Diamonds finds sixth 100+ carat stone in 2024

Africa focused miner Gem Diamonds has unearthed a 212.9 carat Type II white diamond at its prolific Letšeng mine in Lesotho, less than a month after a previous major find.

The diamond, recovered on May 28th, is the sixth 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 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.



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.


Letšeng Yields Two Diamonds over 100ct.

245-carat rough

Gem Diamonds has unearthed two large rough stones from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, marking the fourth and fifth diamonds from the deposit over 100 carats this year.

The stones — weighing 245 and 102 carats — are high-quality, white, type II diamonds, the miner said Monday. The company found both stones on the same day.

The recoveries follow that of two diamonds weighing 370 and 254 carats in May. The company also discovered a 146.9-carat rough in January.

Output of large stones has been sluggish in the first half of the year as Gem Diamonds mined lower-value areas of the deposit, it explained. In the first six months of the year, the company unearthed three 100-carat-plus diamonds, compared to seven in the same period of 2020. Last year, Gem Diamonds recovered 13 stones greater than 100 carats by September 30, and 16 for the full year.


Gem Diamonds recovers high quality 254 carat white diamond at Letšeng

Gem Diamonds has announced the recovery of a high quality 254 carat Type II rough diamond
254 carat Type II Rough Diamond

Gem Diamonds has announced the recovery of a high quality 254 carat Type II, white diamond, from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.

“It is pleasing to see that carat production during the Q1,2021 is up some 11% on the same period in 2020 and the average price of US$1 630 per carat is also slightly up on Q1,2020,” said CEO, Clifford Elphick in last month’s Q1,2021 report.

“Although the production from the mining mix was not as impressive as the second half of 2020, with fewer large diamonds recovered due to the areas accessed under the mining plan, prices achieved on a like for like basis remained strong for Letšeng’s high value diamond production.

“It is anticipated that the mining mix should improve over the coming months as the richer parts of the Satellite pit are accessed in accordance with the mine plan.”


Gem Unearths 179ct Rough Diamond

179-carat rough diamond

Gem Diamonds has recovered a 179 carat rough diamond from its Letšeng mine in Lesotho.

The miner found the high quality, type I diamond on Thanksgiving Day, it said last week. The stone is the 16th diamond over 100 carats the company has found this year. Earlier this month, Gem Diamonds unearthed 104 and 111 carat specimens from the deposit.

The company has already found more diamonds over 100 carats this year than in 2019, when it reported 11 rough diamonds of that magnitude.

Letšeng also yielded a 14.09 carat, pink, type II diamond of high quality last week from its mine in Lesotho.

The miner unearthed the “top quality” type II stone from the deposit on November 24, it said Wednesday. The discovery comes after the company found a 77 carat yellow diamond at the mine in September.

Gem Diamonds has also found 14 diamonds weighing over 100 carats this year, including 104 and 111 carat diamonds earlier this month.


Gem Diamonds back in the black on higher prices

Rough diamonds Letšeng

Africa-focused Gem Diamonds became on Wednesday the latest miner to show signs of a slow but steady recovery in the market after showing it had swung to positive cash flow and slashed debt on the back of rising diamond prices.

The company reduced its net debt position by $6.6 million in the July-September quarter, ending the period with $1.1 million in cash. This compares to a net debt of $5.5 million in the first half of the year.

The sale of seven diamonds for more than $1 million each helped the miner’s bottom line, generating revenue of $25.6 million during the period.

The company achieved an average diamond price in the third quarter of $2,215 per carat, up from $1,714 per carat in the first half of the year.

“These prices achieved, on a like-for-like basis, are higher than those realized in the pre-covid-19 market conditions of the second half of the 2019 [financial year]”, chief executive Clifford Elphick said in the statement.

The apparent ongoing recovery in the diamond market is still thought to be fragile. De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer by value, said in early October it was too early to be sure of a sustained upturn in trading conditions.

“Whilst the market has been defibrillated, we think it will remain in intensive care for some time, although any improvement is good news for the smaller pure play producers with weak balance sheets,” BMO Analyst Edward Sterck said in a note last month.

Letšeng back at full tilt
Gem Diamond’s Letšeng mine in Lesotho returned to full ore mining and treatment capacity in a phased manner during the second quarter, the company said.

Enhanced focus on stability and overall uptime of the Letšeng plants resulted in a conscious decision to reduce the instantaneous feed rate to each plant to reduce feed variability and enhance recovery, Gem noted.

Since acquiring Letšeng in 2006, Gem Diamonds has found more than 60 white gem quality diamonds over 100 carats each, which makes the mine the world’s highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond operation.

The company recently secured a 10-year extension for its mining lease, with the government of Lesotho granting the company exclusive rights for further renewals.

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.


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.