Australia’s Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) has locked in 100 million rand (about $7m) in development funding from South Africa’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) for its 70%-owned Mothae diamond plant, in Lesotho.
Commercial production at the mine, which the Perth-based company acquired in early 2017, began earlier this month via a new 1.1 million tonne-per-year plant that is progressively ramping up to its nameplate capacity.
The government of Lesotho owns the remaining 30% of the mine, which is located 5km from Letšeng, the world’s highest dollars-per-carat kimberlite diamond operation.
The first sale of commercial diamonds from Mothae is scheduled for the first quarter of 2019, the company said in the statement.
In addition to the funding from the IDC, Lucapa now counts $1.5 million from the sale of roughly 4,000 carats produced via bulk sampling at the Lesotho mine.
Lucapa is also furthering two exploration projects in known diamond provinces. One is at Brooking in the West Kimberley lamproite province of Western Australia. The other is a the Orapa Area F project in its namesake mine in Botswana, where it plans to drill kimberlite targets during the first quarter next year.
The company also holds a 40% stake in the prolific Lulo mine, in Angola, which hosts the world’s highest dollar-per-carat alluvial diamonds.