GEM Diamonds recently discovered a 117.47-carat rough diamond at their Letšeng Diamond Mine, further solidifying the mine's reputation for producing top-quality gemstones.
Nov. 3, 2023
2 min read
Letšeng Mine discovers 117.47 carat rough diamond
Gem Diamond CEO, Clifford Elphick
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This remarkable find adds to the four instances this year where Gem Diamonds has unearthed rough diamonds surpassing 100 carats.
The announcement of the discovery of the gem-quality, type IIa diamond was made on October 29.
This follows the recent findings of a 101.96-carat high-quality rough diamond on September 28, a 163.91-carat yellow diamond on June 22, and a 122-carat stone on March 5.
Letšeng Mine has long been recognised for producing high-quality rough diamonds, frequently exceeding 100 carats.
However, recent years have seen a decline in such discoveries. Nevertheless, this latest recovery has matched the previous year's total, during which the company also retrieved four diamonds in this category.
This compares to six such diamonds in 2021 and 16 in 2020.
According to Diamond World, the decreasing number of special-size stones has impacted the company's revenue, resulting in a 28% year-on-year sales decline to $71.8 million in the first half of 2023.
Gem Diamonds incurred a loss of $1 million, in contrast to a profit of $3.8 million during the same period in 2022.
The Letšeng Mine is one of the four large-scale commercial diamond mines in Lesotho, along with Kao, Mothae, and Liqhobong.
According to a report by SMD KAO Mine, the four operating mines injected M5.1 billion into Lesotho’s economy in 2022, in the form of procurement, employees’ earnings, taxes, and levies.
The report highlights that 81% of the total expenditure was from local sources, while the remaining 19% came from foreign sources.
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Additionally, M2.9 billion was directly spent on local procurement. The diamond mining industry plays a crucial role in Lesotho's economic linkages, contributing significantly to the nation's gross domestic product and overall growth.
In 2011, the report stated that diamonds constituted 31% of Lesotho’s total exports.
Letšeng Mine employs 1,500 people and generates 70% of Lesotho’s corporate tax revenue and 60% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The industry’s contribution to GDP grew by 30.8%, from M3.9 billion in 2021 to M5.1 billion in 2022.