By Michelle Graff
This is one of the 100-carat-plus diamonds recovered by Lucara Diamond Corp. in 2019. Found in February 2019, it weighs 223 carats.
Vancouver, British Columbia—Sales climbed 9 percent in 2019 for Lucara Diamond Corp. and it again recovered more than 30 stones weighing more than 100 carats from its Karowe mine in Botswana.

Total revenue for the Vancouver-based mining company for the year ended Dec. 31 totaled $192.5 million, or $468 per carat (2018: $502 per carat), topping guidance of $180 million.

Net income for the year reached $12.7 million, up from $11.7 million in 2018.

Lucara said it was a record year for production through the plant at Karowe.

Total tons mined reached 9.8 million, in line with a forecast of 9.5-10.9 million, and ore processed totaled 2.8 million tons, at the top end of its guidance, while 433,060 total carats of diamonds were recovered, exceeding its forecast of 425,000 carats.

Karowe called 2019 “another strong year” for the recovery of what it refers to as “Specials,” single diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats.

The mining company said it recovered 786 of these stones totaling 24,424 carats from direct milling ore in 2019, down 5 percent from 829 Specials in 2018. It also recovered Specials in tailings, including a 375-carat diamond in the third quarter.

Among these big stones were 31 diamonds in excess of 100 carats—on par with the 33 diamonds it found in this size range last year—including two stones weighing more than 300 carats.

The most notable among them—the 1,758-carat diamond dubbed the Sewelô, which Lucara is cutting in partnership with Louis Vuitton and Antwerp-based diamond manufacturer HB Company.

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In the news release announcing the company’s results, Lucara President and CEO Eira Thomas called the agreement with the iconic fashion house “groundbreaking.”

“In 2019, Lucara also continued to explore ways and means to maximize the value it receives for its diamonds,” she said.

“Our groundbreaking agreement with Louis Vuitton in January 2020 is another example of how we are delivering on this commitment. Through this agreement, we will demonstrate that greater collaboration within the supply chain can unlock value and increase transparency from mine to consumer.”

In addition, Clara, Lucara’s blockchain-based digital sales platform, completed its first year of operations, with a total of 15 sales, 27 customers and sales volume of $8.4 million. The company said the platform is “poised to achieve significant growth” this year, as it adds more customers and producers.

Thomas characterized the company’s 2019 results as strong and said the company has a “solid foundation” for its next stage of growth, the underground expansion of Karowe, which is expected to extend the mine’s life to 2040.

In 2020, Lucara expects diamond revenue to total $180-$210 million as the proportion of carats recovered from higher-grade units increases, and to recover between 370,000 and 410,000 carats of diamonds.

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