Lesedi La Rona insured for P1.3bn

Lesedi La Rona auction takes place tomorrow in London
Lesedi La Rona auction takes place tomorrow in London

Lucara Diamond Corporation’s 1,109-carat diamond has been insured for $120 million (P1.3 billion), Global Mining Observer reported, citing unnamed sources in London.

Lesedi La Rona is expected to fetch more than $80 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London, U.K. on Wednesday (tomorrow).

While the $120 million figure may indicate how much the diamond could fetch at the upper end, these numbers tend to err on the side of caution, the report said.

The 3,107-carat Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905 was insured for ten times its value, it reported.

The diamond, which is about the size of a tennis ball, was discovered by Canadian miner, Lucara Diamond Corporation at Karowe Mine near Orapa in November 2015.

Speaking at a mining conference in Gaborone recently, Lucara chief operating officer, Paul Day said basing on figures of $77,000 per carat fetched by a 813-carat stone they sold in May, they expect Lesedi La Rona to attract a price of more than $80 million.

“It’s uncharted waters for us because the only ever diamond discovered of this size was more than a century ago and it wasn’t sold through an auction. But judging from our initial estimates, we believe we can sell it for more than $80 million,” he said.

The price is an upward revision from the $70 million that was predicted earlier this month before the company sold the 813-carat stone.

The stone measures 65 by 56 by 40 millimetres, about the size of a tennis ball. One carat is equal to a fifth of a gram, so Lucara’s 1,109-carat diamond weighs 222 grams.

Day said ahead of the auction in London on June 29, the diamond has already been showcased to potential buyers in Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Geneva, Dubai and Antwerp.

Lesedi La Rona is the biggest diamond discovered since the famed Cullinan measuring more than 3,000 carats was found in South Africa in 1905.

On a year-to-date basis, Lucara has sold diamonds worth more than $165 million from its Karowe mine through auctions.

Karowe is forecast to process up to 2.4 million tonnes of ore, producing over 350,000 carats of diamond in 2016 with revenue of between $200m and $220m.

The revenue forecast however excludes the sale of high value diamond inventory such as the Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat stone.

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