ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company has announced a two-year plan to construct an Angolan mine that many expect will replace the country’s largest diamond mine, Catoca.
The Lulo deposit, which is 700 kilometers east of Luanda, has potential to knock Catoca out of the top spot for volume of carats extracted. Stones from the deposit are fetching $6,533 a carat compared to the Catoca deposit, which only bring in $100 per carat.
“Beyond doubt from what has washed off the kimberlites into the ancient river channels suggests that the prize once farmed and delivered is going to be substantial,” Lucapa managing director Miles Kennedy was quoted as saying.
“This is a long, scientific game and we’re not trying to over-promote it at this stage, but the early finds are definitely there.”
The Lucapa Diamond Company, which is based in Western Australia, is seeking a license to mine at the Lulo site above ground by the year’s end. The site may hold 500,000 carats, according to company documents.
“The potential is there” to be bigger than Catoca, Kennedy said. “There’s no other prospect in the world which has been delivering diamonds of this caliber and value. None. Not one.”
Angola, the fourth-biggest diamond producer by value, has cut taxes and reduced state ownership requirements as it works to renew an industry decimated by global financial problems.
Lucapa Diamond Company owns a controlling interest in the 3,000 –square-kilometer concession with a 40 percent stake, while Angola’s state-owned diamond company holds 33 percent and Rosas e Petales SA holds the remaining 27 percent.