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Signaling a brilliant start to 2021, Lucara Diamond Corp. just unveiled a pair of 300-plus-carat, top-quality white diamonds from its prolific Karowe Mine in Botswana.
The 341-carat and 378-carat, unbroken, Type IIa gems are the 54th and 55th diamonds greater than 200 carats to be recovered from Karowe since 2015. (Type IIa diamonds are colorless and chemically pure with no traces of nitrogen or boron impurities.)
While Lucara didn’t announce the value of the rough diamonds, we can offer a guess based on the previous sales of similar diamonds. Using $50,000 per carat as a guideline, each gem could yield $17 million or more.
In a statement, Lucara CEO Eira Thomas noted that impressive finds join "a rare and special lineage of exceptional, high-value diamonds recovered at Karowe and continues to highlight the wonderful diamond potential of Botswana."
On Wikipedia's list of the largest rough diamonds, Karowe-sourced gems occupy 12 of the top 55 spots, including these headliners…
• 1,758-carat Sewelô (2019), #2
• 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona (2015), #3
• 998-carat unnamed (2020), #4
• 812-carat Constellation (2015), #9
The #1 spot is held by the 3,106-carat Cullinan Diamond, which was sourced near Pretoria, South Africa, in 1905.
Lucara's recent success in securing huge diamonds is largely attributed to its implementation of cutting-edge technology. Diamond-rich ore passes through the MDR (Mega Diamond Recovery) XRT circuit, a system that can identify 100-carat-plus diamonds by monitoring the rocky material for X-ray luminescence, atomic density and transparency. Previously, large diamonds might have been mistaken as worthless ore and pulverized during the primary crushing process. The company has been using MDR technology since 2017.
Early this month, Lucara confirmed that the company signed a 25-year deal with the Government of Botswana that will pave the way for the underground expansion of the Karowe mine. The current open pit mine has a depth of 324 meters. The underground operation is expected to extend the depth to 750 meters below the surface.
"Continued and consistent recovery of large diamonds, such as the 378-carat and 341-carat stones, comes at a critical time and provides continued strength and additional foundation to the opportunity to finance and build the underground expansion at Karowe that will see mining continue for at least another 13 years after the open pit ceases operations in 2026," commented Thomas.
Credits: Images courtesy of Lucara.