Earlier this month, Gem Diamond, the owner and operator of the Letseng mine in Lesotho, has discovered an 80-carat rough stone that it described “as one of the highest-quality diamonds” ever found at the mine, according to Diamond.net.
Although the D-color, type-II diamond is “relatively small compared with some of the huge stones the mine has produced over the years” (including a 114-carat gem the company extracted in April), “few previous discoveries match this one for quality”. According to Gem Diamonds, the 80-carat stone “is entirely undamaged, making this a significant recovery”.
As mentioned, this isn’t the first big, high-quality stone found at Letseng. According to the company, Letseng is the highest average dollar per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. The mine is renowned for “its regular production of large, top color, exceptional white diamonds”, with annual production averaging over 100,000 carats. Although the mine’s grade recovery is low, “averaging just under two carats per hundred tonnes or 1.7cpht”, its highest average dollar per carat status ranks Letseng in the top 15 global diamond producers by revenue.
Letseng processes ore from two kimberlite pipes, called Main and Satellite. It is located in Lesotho, a landlocked country in southern Africa completely surrounded by South Africa. Letseng stands at an average elevation of 3,100 meters above sea level, making it one of the highest diamond mines in the world.
Since Gem Diamonds acquired the mine in 2006, Letseng has produced four of the 20 largest white gem quality diamonds ever recovered. For further details on some of these diamonds, visit Famous Letseng Diamonds.