“It is a beautiful, elongated white stone and is the first diamond of over 400 carats to be recovered at the mine since the recovery of the 910-carat Lesotho Legend in January 2018,” the mine said in a statement.
The 442-carat stone comes on the heels of other stones – a 163 carat yellow type I diamond recovered in June 2020, a 60-carat type I light yellow, a 87-carat type II D colour, a 66-carat type II D colour and a 23-carat type II D colour white diamond in April.
Commenting on the newest recovery, the Letšeng Diamonds chief executive officer Kelebone Leisanyane said: “Letšeng Diamonds is grateful to the government of Lesotho for showing confidence in the mining industry during these difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic and for having designated mining as an essential service in an effort to keep the wheels of the economy rolling”.
He added: “The recovery of this remarkable 442-carat diamond, one of the world’s largest gem quality diamonds to be recovered this year, will contribute immensely to the fiscus in the form of taxes, royalties and dividends.”
He further indicated that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this diamond will also be used to fund a special community project, as agreed with the government in the new mining lease agreement.
“It is also important to note that Letšeng Diamonds will continue to maintain strict adherence to health and safety precautions during the global COVID-19 pandemic,” he noted.
The mine processes ore from two kimberlite pipes, the ‘main’ and the ‘satellite’.
While both pipes bear extremely low-grade ore, averaging under two carats per hundred tonnes, Letšeng Diamond mine is the highest dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.
The mine is renowned for producing high quality white diamonds which are among the largest in the world. The discovery of a 910ct diamond in 2018, was declared the fifth largest in the world.