TSX-listed Lucara Diamond Corp has uncovered what it claims is one of the largest diamonds to be discovered in recorded history.
The 1,758 carat diamond was unearthed from the XRT circuit at Lucara’s wholly-owned Karowe diamond mine in Botswana and is the biggest diamond to be recovered from the operation to-date weighing in at 352 grams and measuring 83mm by 62mm by 46mm.
It has been classified as “near gem of variable quality” and comprises domains of high-quality white gem.
Since the XRT circuit was commissioned in 2015, 12 diamonds bigger than 300 carats have been discovered at Karowe. Two of the diamonds have exceeded 1,000 carats including this latest find.
More than half of the 12 diamonds were categorised as gem quality and 11 have been sold bringing in more than US$158 million in revenue.
“Karowe has now produced two diamonds greater than 1,000 carats in just four years, affirming the coarse nature of the resource and the likelihood of recovering additional large high-quality diamonds in the future, particularly as we mine deeper in the ore body and gain access to the geologically favourable EM/PK(S) unit – the source of both of our record breaking plus-1,000 carat diamonds,” Lucara chief executive officer Eira Thomas said.
Karowe diamond mine
The Karowe open pit diamond mine hosts a probable reserve from surface to 324m depth of 19.84 million tonnes containing 2.6 million carats.
Under the mine plan, Karowe’s operational life is to 2026 with potential for this to be extended by moving underground.
Annual throughput is estimated at up to 2.8Mtpa with production for 2019 predicted to sit between 300,000 carats and 330,000 carats.
Based on the production estimate, Lucara anticipates up to US$200 million in revenue for the calendar year.
Largest diamond ever discovered
The 1,758 carat discovery follows Cullinan Diamond’s 3,016.75 carat find in South Africa back in 1905.
In 1907, Transvaal Prime Minister Louis Botha’s government procured the gem and presented it to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom as a “token of loyalty”.
King Edward VII had the diamond cut into 105 stones including the renowned Great Star of Africa which, at 530.4 carats, is the largest clear cut diamond in the world.
Meanwhile, Lucara’s latest find follows Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) and Dominion Diamond Mines’ yellow Canadamark diamond discovery late last year, which weighed 552 carats.
The diamond was unearthed from the Diavik diamond mine and is believed to be North America’s largest diamond recovered to-date.