London-based Gem Diamonds Limited has announced the recovery of two “exceptional” diamonds at Letšeng Mine.
The company has been unearthing some of the world’s best diamonds at Letšeng Mine since acquiring a 70 percent shareholding in the mine for US$118.5 million (about M1 299 billion) in 2006. The Lesotho government owns the remaining 30 percent of the mine, which is situated in Mokhotlong.
Announcing the recovery this week, Gem Diamonds chief executive officer, Clifford Elphick, said this was yet another milestone for Letšeng.
Elphick said in a statement: “Gem Diamonds Limited is pleased to announce the recovery of two +160 carat diamonds from the Letšeng mine at the end of January 2014.
“These two rough diamonds (a 162.06 carat type II diamond and a 161.74 carat type I diamond) are each expected to achieve top prices at Letšeng’s February tender.
“Both diamonds were recovered in largely undamaged condition, providing further confirmation that the measures which have been implemented to reduce diamond damage at Letšeng are bearing fruit.
“We are pleased to see the Letšeng mine continue to deliver such large, high quality white diamonds as the mine confirms its position as the world’s foremost source of exceptional large diamonds.”
Since Gem’s takeover, Letšeng has produced four of the 20 largest rough white gem diamonds on record.
In August 2011, a 550-carat white diamond, the Letšeng Star, became the fourth major recovery at Letšeng since Gem’s acquisition. It was preceded by the 478-carat Leseli la Letšeng (‘Light of Letšeng’) white diamond in 2008, the 493-carat Letšeng Legacy white diamond in 2007 and 603-carat Lesotho Promise white diamond in 2006.
Meanwhile, in October 2013, Gem Diamonds sold an 82-carat diamond for $4.8 million (M48 million), while a rare 12.47-carat blue diamond set a record for a Letšeng diamond and fetched $7.5 million (M78 million).
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