business

May 6, 2022

KABELO MASOABI

3 min read

Kao Mine unearths 48 carat purple diamond

Kao Mine unearths 48 carat purple diamond

The 22 carat pink diamond found at Kao Mine a few years ago

Story highlights

  • Gem storm already sent to world’s biggest diamond market in Belgium
  • Unique diamond to be sold at very high price

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STORM Mountain Diamonds, that operates Kao Mine has recovered the biggest pink diamond ever to be found in Lesotho.

The 47.8 carats valuable stone was exhumed on April 25, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mohale Ralikariki.
He told Maseru Metro on Tuesday that the gem stone, which has since been exported to Belgium to be sold at the biggest diamond market in the world, was possibly the largest pink diamond to be mined in Lesotho.
"It’s a unique diamond expected to go at a very high price,” he said. “The public will be informed at a later stage as to how much the diamond was sold for."

Mr Ralikariki said the development was a significant recovery from the COVID-19 impact, adding that the mine had spent a lot of money operating under undesirable circumstances while striving to meet its targets.
"The money to be attained from this diamond is going to benefit the government in terms of royalties paid and the balance will be reserved to sustain the mine's daily operations," he said.
Storm Mountain Diamonds operates a kimberlite diamond mine in Kao, Butha-Buthe.
The kimberlite pipe is the largest in the country and the fourth largest in southern Africa. SMD is jointly owned by Namakwa Diamonds Limited and the Lesotho government.
"Geologists show that Lesotho diamonds formation dates back as far as hundred million years ago and we should give credit to our fellow Basotho workers at Kao who dug this historical treasure from the soils of the motherland," Mr Ralikariki also said.

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In a short space of time, Kao Mine has become a primary producer of fancy pink diamonds. Small pink and purple diamonds were found
In December 2013, the incredible 36.06 carat 'Pink Storm' was recovered, putting Kao Mine on the map as a serious producer of pink diamonds. Since then, some remarkable stones have been recovered.

Kao Mine regularly produces pink diamonds including a range of big sizes, as well as a full suite of pink colours and saturations.

Most of the Kao pinks do not have secondary colours and those that do are dominated by purple as the secondary colour.

Occasionally, brown is a secondary colour and very rarely orange.
Most of the pink diamonds are rare Type II diamonds, while the pink-purple and purple stones are Type I. The majority of the Kao pink diamonds are clean with a minimum of obvious inclusions.

Other discoveries by the Kao Mine include a rare pink/purple stone of 3.11 carats that was recovered on April 9, 2017. The stone was named the 'Kao Purple Princess'.
On June 12, 2018, a 29.65 carats special pink stone was recovered at the mine. The stone was named 'The Rose of Kao'.
The 25.97 carats Pink Dawn was recovered on October 27, 2020.

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