Lucara says latest large diamond find supports rationale for Karowe expansion

Lucara Karowe mine, Botswana

LUCARA Diamond Corporation said it had recovered a 341 carat white diamond from its 100%-owned Karowe Diamond Mine in Botswana.

The recovery, made during the holiday period, represents the 54th diamond greater than 200 carats to be recovered from Karowe since 2015, the company said.

“The consistent recovery of these large diamonds … underpins our rationale for moving forward with the underground expansion program that will see mining continue for at least another 13 years after the open pit ceases operations in 2026,” said Eira Thomas, CEO of Lucara Diamond in a statement. “We look forward to a productive and busy 2021.”

Earlier this month, Lucara said it expected to complete financing for the $514m underground expansion of Karowe, a mine in Botswana, in the second half of 2021. “The company continues to explore debt financing options for the underground expansion for those amounts which are expected to exceed the company’s cash flow from operations during the construction period,” it said.

This followed the renewal of Karowe’s mining license by the Botswana authorities for 25 years, effective January 4.

Work on the expansion had continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with the focus falling on time critical-path items, detailed engineering and design, and limited earthworks and geotechnical studies. First ore from the expansion is now anticipated to be in 2026.

Karowe is renowned for its spectacular diamond recoveries. Previous finds include the 549 carat Sethunya, the 1,758 carat Sewelô and the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona.