Lucara adopts AI to boost Karowe's security


Lucara Diamond has introduced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine-learning to safeguard the precious stones being produced at Karowe Mine, the Boteti operation that frequently digs up some of the world’s largest diamonds.

Since its commissioning in 2012, Karowe has produced world famous diamonds such as Lesedi la Rona, the second biggest diamond ever discovered and Constellation, the highest selling rough diamond ever.

Earlier this year, Karowe also produced the Sewelo diamond, a near gem quality stone and one of the largest ever recovered in history.

Lucara Botswana managing director, Naseem Lahri told BusinessWeek the mine had adopted the latest technology to protect the precious stones being dug out at Karowe, located near Orapa Mine.

“Our AI is focused on machine-learning, for the technology to learn what unsecure activities are,” she said on the sidelines of De Beers’ recent diamond conference.

“In traditional operations, you have someone watching over you, a form of surveillance, but we want to be more effective. “Once the technology learns an unsecure activity, it will ping whenever that happens.

“We are already using facial recognition so that if a ‘hot’ person is picked up, the technology shows us all the places that person has been.”

Lahri said the AI and its machine-learning focus would be expanded to safety within Karowe, identifying and pinging activities deemed risky or hazardous.

Meanwhile, Lucara has suspended its quarterly dividend payments to shareholders, as it shores up cash in anticipation of underground mining at Karowe.

The company told investors recently the feasibility study for underground mining at Karowe indicated the expansion could double the mine life and “generate significant revenue and cashflow out to 2040”.

“In anticipation of a decision to proceed with construction of an underground mine at Karowe, the directors are of the view that it would be prudent to re-direct the company’s available cash so that those funds can be available for early works including detailed engineering, procurement initiatives and project financing,” the board said in an update.

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