ASX-listed diamond Lucapa Diamond Company has announced a restart plan to recommence diamond mining operations at its Lesotho-based Mothae diamond mine.

The Mothae mine has been on care and maintenance since lockdown after isolation measures forced the suspension of operations in late March 2020. The restart plan will, with the appropriate health and safety protocols implemented, see the mine return to operations in Q4, 2020.

In addition, the Honourable Minister of Mines, Minister Qoo, has approved a proposal to implement a new diamond marketing channel that provides Mothae the opportunity to realise more value for its unique high-value production.

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Consequent to this, diamond production from the Mothae mine will be sold at full and transparent rough market value into direct offtake arrangements with diamantaires.

This approval will allow Mothae to implement value accretive polishing partnerships with its diamantaire partners where Mothae will see additional benefit accruing in the form of shared polished margins from beyond the mine gate.

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This additional marketing optionality, together with an expansion programme that could see the Mothae mine production increase by some ~60%, will result in a substantial increase in the mine’s contribution to all its stakeholders.

“We are pleased to have worked closely with Lucapa as our partners in Mothae to see the mine begin its journey back into operation as positive signs begin to emerge for diamonds with the world economies looking to reopen,” says the Honourable Minister of Mining, Minister Qoo.

“We also see this new marketing channel as an important additional option to the existing tender solution that will deliver benefit from beyond the mine gate and grow the contribution the natural diamond industry makes to the Basotho nation.”

“It has been a tough time for the industry over the past few months as a result of the pandemic, but particularly for the many men and women employed or engaged at the Mothae mine. Our valued teams and contractors have been very understanding and supportive during the suspension and we look forward to having them back at the mine, in a safe and healthy manner, as soon as possible,” continues Lucapa MD Stephen Wetherall.

“Mothae is a unique mine and an important contributor to the Basotho nation. The recommencement of operations and implementation of the new marketing channel will see the full potential of the Mothae kimberlite mine unlocked. This is a similar marketing channel successfully implemented at Lucapa’s Lulo mine in Angola which has already shown its value to the mine.”