Lucapa Diamond Company is poised to start alluvial diamond mining at its Lulo concession in Angola’s Lunda Province.
According to a statement obtained by the Zambian Mining Magazine, the company said it was evaluating several debt financing options to fund the mining operations.
It said the financing options in question included the first phase of optimisation and technology improvements, a treatment plant, recovery plant and working capital.
The company is jointly owned by Angolan state-owned diamond company, Endiama and Rosas & Petals, a local privately owned firm.
The decision to start diamond mining at Lulo follows the recent signing of what is said to be comprehensive mining agreement between Lucapa and other project shareholders, which provided the newly formed mining company with a 35-year licence to mine alluvial diamonds.
The licence covers a 218km area where Lucapa has been recovering alluvial diamonds of exceptional size, colour and quality.
Lucapa’s new chief executive officer Stephen Wetherall said the plant efficiency improvements and technology investment would enable Lulo meets its phase 1 ouput target of 14,000 bcm a month before the end of 2015.
Mr Wetherall noted that mining under phase one would focus on select areas within the mining area that produced higher grades during the bulk sampling programmes.
“The pits we have bulk sampled to date have delivered an average grade of just under 11 carats per 100m3,”said Mr Wetherall.
In the meantime, Lulo has so far sold two parcels of rough diamonds weighing 371.35 carats and 496.2 carats respectively. These diamonds were recovered from bulk sampling programmes.
According to Lucapa, these diamonds grossed more than $4.6 million, representing an average sale price of almost $5709 per carat.
The next sale is scheduled for February 2015.