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Big stone tender nets Lucara $24M

2013-09-04

Vancouver, British Columbia--Lucara Diamond Corp. sold all 16 rough diamonds at the second sale of large, exceptional diamonds produced by its mine in Botswana, netting the company more than $24 million.

The diamond miner announced Tuesday that its special tender of stones from the Karowe Mine concluded Monday, with the 16 stones weighing 1,028 carats selling for a total of $24.7 million, or $24,026 per carat. Lucara called the result “outstanding.”

“This sale demonstrates that the market remains very strong for large and exceptional diamonds adding significantly to the value of (the) Karowe Mine, which continues to outperform expectations,” said Lucara President and CEO William Lamb. “We could not be happier with the result.”

The highest-grossing lot was a 135.4-carat rough diamond that sold for $6.37 million. Another three diamonds sold for more than $2.5 million each, Lucara said.

This is the second tender of large rough held by Lucara, with the first taking place in the spring.

In that sale, all 15 lots totaling about 817.25 carats sold for $24.9 million, or $30,468 per carat. That tender included a 239-carat piece of rough that sold for $5.8 million, plus a 124-carat and a 71.1-carat diamond.

In the third quarter, the company said it plans to hold one regular tender consisting of 80,000 carats of rough, including more than 30 single stones larger than 10.8 carats.

Also on Tuesday, Lucara announced that Larry Ott, the company’s vice president of exploration, is retiring and will be replaced by John Armstrong, who will be vice president of mineral resources.

The change is effective immediately, with Ott retained on a consultancy basis. Armstrong has more than 25 years of combined experience in mineral exploration, mining and government.

Based in Vancouver, Lucara has two key mines, the in-production Karowe Mine and the Mothae Project in the Kingdom of Lesotho. It owns Karowe and has a 75 percent stake in Mothae, which has completed its trial mining program.