Stressed diamond miner Petra Diamonds found a gigantic 425 carat gem stone at its Cullinan mine, close to Pretoria. Cullinan Mine previously named Premier Mine is well known for the discovery of the biggest-ever diamond in 1905.
Petra said on Friday that it recovered a 425-carat white (D- colour) Type II stone. The find could not come at a better time for Petra after it sold its Kimberley operations amid growing anxieties from the board that expensive diamonds have been eluding the company.
The discovery has resulted in an increase of 7.7% in Petra’s shares, up from a 16-year low. Petra found a 100-carat white diamond and a 6.1-carat blue diamond earlier this year, but those gems stones did nothing to its share price. The 425-carat diamond is possibly the sixth-biggest stone ever found at the mine and among the 15 largest found this century. The diamond is expected to fetch not less than R440m when sold.
Cullinan mine, previously owned by De Beers, is famous for the recovery of white Type ll diamonds, which is a more expensive type. The 3106 carat diamond that was found on 26 January 1905 was cut and polished into several smaller stones. Two of those gemstones, the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa — are set in Queen Elizabeth’s Crown Jewels of Britain.
Gem Diamonds in Lesotho has recovered a 161-carat rough stone, the first 100-plus carat diamond for this year. It found the high-quality, white or D-colour, type IIa diamond on March 21, the mining company said on Friday. At the current prices the diamond is expected to rake in an estimated R170m for Gem Diamonds.
In 2018, the miner found 15 rough diamonds weighing in excess of 100 carats. This haul included the Lesotho Legend that weighed an astonishing 910 carat, which was sold for R500m. In February this year, the miner also found a 13.33-carat pink diamond, which it sold to Graff for R 127m , or R9.5m per carat.
Gem Diamonds owns 70% of the Letšeng mine, with the Lesotho Government holding the remaining shares. The Letšeng mine is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho and is renowned for its recovery of bulky, high quality, exceptional Type II diamonds. Gem Diamonds acquired the mine in 2006 and has discovered more than sixty (60) diamonds of +100 carats, predominantly high value, white diamonds. Amongst these diamonds recovered are the iconic 603 carat Lesotho Promise, the 550 carat Letšeng Star and the 493 carat Letšeng Legacy and its biggest stone to date, the 910 carat Lesotho Legend.
Letšeng has grown to be one of the largest open pit diamond mines in the world, processing ore from two kimberlite pipes. Some experts claim that the mine is the highest dollar-per-carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world.
Meanwhile mining giant De Beers has closed another mine. The diversified mining company has announced the closure of its Victor mine in Canada, exactly 11 years to the day after the project’s opening. According to De Beers the mine was expanded from a 5-meter stretch to a pit measuring 1 kilometer long and 1 kilometer across. The only diamond mine in the Ontario region, Victor, produced more than 8 million carats throughout its lifecycle, over 33% more than its original forecast of 6 million carats. In 2018, the mine had a record output of 935,000 carats, 58% higher than its estimate for the year. “I’m extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish in that pit,” said Brian Kilbride, senior mining manager at the Victor mine.