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 seven +100 carat stones.In February 2016, Lulo produced Angola’s largest recorded diamond – the 404 carat 4th February Stone – which sold for US$16 million. In February 2017, Lulo produced Angola’s second biggest recorded diamond, a Type IIa D-colour gem weighing 227 carats.
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 March 2017, the Lulo partners announced an updated JORC compliant alluvial diamond resource which continues to infer +4 years of alluvial mining operations at the rate of 20,000 bulk cubic metres per month. The updated resource included a 58% increase in the average modelled diamond value to US$1,246 per carat.