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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gem Diamonds Letšeng Mine Yields 185-ct. White Diamond

Photo from Daily Mail

Gem Diamonds Ltd. said it uncovered an “exceptional” 185-ct. rough white diamond from the Letšeng mine in Lesotho at the end of October.

Early examinations indicate that this rough diamond will yield top color and top clarity polished diamonds and is thus expected to achieve a substantial price per carat, the mining company said in a statement.

It is the second of two large, top quality white diamonds to be recovered from the Letšeng mine in the last two months following the 196 carat white diamond which was recovered from Letšeng in August 2010. Unlike Letšeng’s other noteworthy diamonds which were recovered from the Satellite pipe, this diamond was recovered from Letšeng’s larger Main pipe, “demonstrating that the Main pipe is not to be underestimated for its ability to produce very large top quality diamonds,” the company said. The mine has yielded three of the world’s 20 largest recorded diamonds since it acquired the mine in 2006.

The London Daily Mail reports that the diamond may be worth up to £7million ($11.2 million).

Gem Diamonds owns 70 percent of Letšeng Diamonds in partnership with the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, located in Southern Africa, which owns the remaining 30 percent. Operated by De Beers between 1977 and 1982, Letšeng reopened operations in 2004 and was acquired by Gem Diamonds in late 2006 for $118.5 million.

"Letšeng is one of the world’s truly extraordinary diamond mines and its reputation is well deserved given the frequency with which it produces remarkable diamonds,” said Clifford Elphic, Gem Diamonds CEO. “Management remains focused on its strategy to substantially expand production at Letšeng in order to maximize value and increase the returns from this world class asset.”