Lucara weighs options over 1,758-carat wonder

Lucara Diamond Corporation is mulling over the best ways of marketing and selling its latest discovery, a 1,758-carat diamond that is amongst the largest found in history.

Two years ago the Canadian outfit sold its world-breaking tennis ball-sized Lesedi La Rona diamond to British Jeweller Graff Diamonds for $53 million.  The 1,109 carat uncut stone dug up at Karowe in Boteti sub district, had been expected to fetch far higher, given $70 million reserve price.

Lucara insiders at the time told BusinessWeek that industry villains had conspired to undercut Lesedi La Rona’s price to their benefit, staging an auction-floor ambush. This week, Lucara managing director, Naseem Lahri stressed that the importance of understanding the market would be key to selling the latest giant stone.

“There is a market out there, but we need to understand it and find the best ways of selling our precious stones,” she told BusinessWeek on Tuesday.

“We still have to analyse the stone, try to understand what is needed to sell it or maybe even keep the stone because at the moment we are not even sure of what model we are going to use.  “It is a very unique stone and very exciting.” The 1,758-carat stone has been characterised as “a near gem of variable quality, including domains of high-quality white gem”. It is one of the largest diamonds discovered in recorded history, and the largest to be discovered in Botswana.

Analysts have explained that because the diamond is a “near gem of variable quality” it means it will not yield incredibly valuable polished diamonds such as previous finds. Lucara has said it is still conducting analysis on the tennis ball-sized rock.

Lahri told BusinessWeek that at the moment, there was no estimate of the diamond’s value. “We have absolutely no idea how much the stone is going to cost because it is so unique and has a coating. It is a complex stone and we need to know the best value we can get from it,” she said. Lucara has launched a competition for the naming of the stone, which will run until the 14th of this month.  The winner will receive P30, 000 cash and a tour of Karowe Mine. Meanwhile, the CEO said Lucara is on track to achieve its targets for the year.

 Earlier this year the Canadian company announced its projection that revenues would reach up to $200million (P2.1 billion) in 2019.  “We are on track with targets in the first quarter and are doing well in terms of production, the mining target, processing targets and carats recovered,” she said.

Editor's Comment
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