And the world-class diamonds just keep coming... Hot on the heels of Lucara's discovery of a 1,111-carat gem-quality rough diamond at its Karowe Mine in Botswana, rival Lucapa announced it unearthed a spectacular 404-carat diamond about 2,500 miles north at its Lulo Diamond Project in Angola.
Like the Lucara diamond, the Lucapa stone is of the extremely rare and chemically pure Type IIa gem variety. The newly discovered rough diamond, which weighs 2.8 ounces, measures 2.7 inches across and boasts a D color, is estimated to be worth about $14 million.
"We're not used to valuing 400-carat diamonds, but if we look at other diamonds slightly less weight than this, you're looking in the order of [$14 million]," Lucapa chairman Miles Kennedy told ABC Australia.
Experts have set the value of the Lucara diamond — recently dubbed “Lesedi La Rona (Our Light)" — at $66 million.
The 404-carat diamond set two records. It's the largest diamond ever found in Angola (the previous record holder weighed 217.4 carats), and it's also the largest diamond ever unearthed by an Australian-based mining company. Rival Lucara is based in Canada.
Kennedy told ABC Australia that many skeptics questioned his company's foray into a "very, very remote part of Angola." It was a parcel of 3,000 square kilometers of untouched ground more than 430 miles from the coast. Kennedy called the discovery a "wonderful vindication of eight years of pretty hard work."
Kennedy reported that diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats are considered "special" by his mining company. Over the past six months, the Lulo diamond fields in Angola have yielded more than 100 of these special diamonds. Four were greater than 100 carats in weight.
He also noted that the cash injection made possible by the sale of the 404-carat diamond would allow the mining company to expand operations in Angola.
Images: Lucapa Diamond Company; Google Maps.