Lucapa and its partners commenced alluvial diamond mining operations at Lulo in January 2015 after being awarded a mining licence in late 2014. Lulo alluvial mining company Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (SML) (Lucapa 40% owner and operator) was formally incorporated in May 2016.
Alluvial mining and exploration activities at Lulo are focused on a ~50km stretch of the Cacuilo River which runs through the concession.
The high-value Lulo diamond production is unique, including a significant proportion of high-end Type IIa gems and fancy colours (pinks and yellows).
Significantly, large diamonds known as Specials (individual stones weighing >10.8 carats) account for ~30% of the total weight of Lulo diamonds, but ~90% of sales value.
To date, Lulo has produced >30 +50 carat diamonds including six +100 carat stones. In Februalry 2016, Lulo produced Angola’s largest recorded diamond – the 404 carat 4th February Stone – which sold for US$16 million.
SML achieved total sales of US$51 million in 2016 at an average price per carat of US$2,983 – the highest $ per carat run of mine diamond production in the world.
Lulo has established infrastructure to support its diamond mining operations and exploration activities, including a 150 tonne per hour diamond processing plant, camp and extensive earth moving equipment. Recent improvements to the plant include a new wet front end, XRT technology and larger screens to recover diamonds up to 1,100 carats.
In December 2015, the Lulo partners announced a maiden estimated JORC compliant alluvial diamond resource sufficient to support diamond mining operations for ~4 years at the rate of 20,000 bulk cubic metres per month.