Lucapa reopens Mothae mine as Lesotho brings 14-day Covid-19 lockdown to close

Stephen Wetherall, CEO, Lucapa Diamond Company

LUCAPA Diamond Company said its Mothae mine in Lesotho had reopened in line with the ending of the country’s 14-day Covid-19 lockdown.

“It is great to see the Mothae mine operating once again as we prioritise the health and safety of our teams returning to site,” said Stephen Wetherall, MD of Lucara Diamond in an announcement. “With the diamond market continuing its strong momentum into 2021, we look forward to the remainder of the quarter and completing the expansion project on time,” he added.

Lesotho prime minister Moeketsi Majoro announced the lockdown on January 13 after infections reported by the country’s Covid-19 command centre sky-rocketed from 100 per day to 800.

Lucapa re-opened Mothae in October following a six month long Covid-19 related lockdown. In November, the company raised $10m through a share issue with the proceeds primarily to be directed to the $8.5m expansion of its Mothae.

The diamond market is slowly recovering after seeing the pandemic all but dry up sales last year.

Commenting in the group’s fourth quarter production results on Thursday, Anglo American CEO, Mark Cutifani, said the diamond market signs were encouraging. “As we begin 2021, we are continuing to see positive demand for rough diamonds, supported by consumer demand for diamond jewellery in the holiday selling season.

“While it is still too early to signal a strong and sustained recovery, the resilience in demand in spite of ongoing Covid-19 impacts is still very encouraging,” Cutifani said.