Lucapa to sell 70% stake in Lesotho diamond mine, Mothae

Mothae mine, Lesotho

LUCAPA Diamond Company is to sell its 70% stake in Lesotho mine Mothae following an asset review.

“On review, it is clear the company should streamline the portfolio to focus on our core assets in Africa and Australia,” said Stuart Brown, chairperson of Lucapa in a statement on Wednesday. “We expect there will be significant interest from those within the diamond industry and on a wider scale,” he added.

Shares in the company edged down 1% today taking losses for the year-to-date to just over 50%. Diamond miners globally are currently struggling with poor prices.

Mothae produced 8,545 carats in the first quarter of this year. Lucapa said it began commercial operations at the mine in 2019 which is known to produce large, high-value diamonds attracting the second highest dollar per carat for kimberlite diamonds.

Despite this Lucapa wrote down Mothae for $13.4m for the 12 months ended December. This was after suffering a loss of $2.9m for the period. It posted a loss of $1.1m in the previous financial year.

In November, Lucapa suspended its Merlin project in Australia. The project, acquired in 2021 for A$8.6m, was forecast to produce about 2.1 million carats over a 14 year life of mine, according to a 2022 scoping study. Pre-production process and infrastructural capital of A$69m was estimated.

In addition to Mothae, Lucapa also operates the Lulo mine in Angola.