THE high quality diamond weighing 910 carats that was recently recovered at Letšeng Diamond Mine is valued at M500 000 000, the Minister of Mining, Keketso Sello, has said.
Mr Sello said this in a recent briefing to the National Assembly on the diamond which was recovered on 12 January 2018.
He further said the diamond which was the third largest in Africa and the fifth largest in the world, had “put Lesotho on the world map due to its high quality”.
Mr Sello also said that while the price of the gem could increase after being cut and polished, Lesotho however, lacked the required facilities to cut and polish diamonds, meaning that this could only be done elsewhere outside the country.
About Letšeng Diamonds:
Letšeng Diamonds is a mining company that owns and operates Letšeng Diamond Mine. Gem Diamonds Limited acquired the mine in October 2006 and owns 70% of shares while the Government of Lesotho holds the remaining 30%.
Since Gem acquired Letšeng in 2006 it has developed from around 35,000 carat a year operation to a 110,000 carat mine.
- Resulting from that success and growth, today Letšeng is the second largest employer in Lesotho; only the Government employs more people.
- Financial Contribution to Government of Lesotho – In the region of 6.8 billion Lesotho Loti.
- Gem Diamonds has significantly increased the number of Lesotho nationals that work at the mine. The Company is very focused on nurturing the widespread talent in the local communities and the present day Letšeng workforce comprises 96% local employees.
- From 2011 to 2016 the Company has also enlarged its local suppliers’ procurement spend, from 84% to 94%, which generates further benefits to the local economy and the wider population of Lesotho.
- Shareholding: 70 percent Gem Diamonds; 30 percent Government of Lesotho.