Gem Diamonds Unearths 98 ct. Diamond

Maseru: Gem Diamonds has discovered a 98.42-carat rough diamond at its Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the company said Tuesday.

The miner will sell the D-color, type-II diamond in June, alongside an 80.58-carat stone unearthed earlier this month. During the first quarter, Letšeng yielded 25,479 carats — an 11% decline from the same period a year ago.

“It is encouraging that during April and May, there was a notable improvement in the size and quality of diamonds recovered at Letšeng, with the dollar per carat achieved trending positively,” said Gem Diamonds CEO Clifford Elphick.

Gem Diamonds suffered a relative dearth of large rough diamonds last year. The number of diamonds from Letšeng weighing 100 carats or more slid to five in 2016 from 11 in 2015, bringing overall revenue down 24% to $189.8 million.

Meanwhile, sales in this year’s first quarter reached an average price of $1,636 per carat for 39,950 carats, compared with $1,444 per carat in the fourth quarter of 2016.