The new processing
plant at Gem’s
Letseng mine in
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 October 2008 – Gem Diamonds Limited – a global diamond producer with African operations in Lesotho, Botswana, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – has posted a 35.9% jump in third-quarter output from its flagship Letseng mine in Lesotho.

Reuters reports that the company produced 30 987 carats from Letseng during the third quarter of 2008, bringing its nine-month output to 75 493 carats. This compared to 55 562 carats in the corresponding period of 2007.

The company claims that gem prices were slipping, and that there are concerns that diamond prices may show further weakness over the next six months due to the current macro environment.

At a recent tender in Antwerp, Gem Diamonds said prices for top quality rough diamonds from Letseng had fallen by 14%, compared to the average for the year through October, while prices of smaller gems were also weaker. It added that at the moment the pricing environment remained uncertain.

The company went on to say that its Ellendale mine in Australia had  made satisfactory progress in the quarter and produced 61 382 carats of diamonds during July – the highest in the history of the mine.

It recovered a total of 413 264 carats from Ellendale over the nine-month period, but did not give year-ago comparisons for the mine, which it had acquired in December.