Lucapa is planning a low-risk, staged development of Mothae which enables production and cash flows to be achieved within 12 months.
Phase 1 involves the contract open pit mining and processing of ~2 million tonnes of weathered kimberlite material to a depth of 50 metres. This “free dig” material will require little or no drilling, blasting or waste stripping, thus minimising mining costs.
The US$12 million capital cost will include optimising and upgrading the diamond processing plant and the installation of XRT technology to more efficiently recover large Type IIa diamonds.
The Phase 1 plan will also provide metallurgical data, diamond grade and value information at deeper levels to assist in optimising the larger-scale Phase 2 development of Mothae, which will target 2 million tonnes per annum of weathered open pit kimberlite material to a depth of ~255 metres.
The economics of developing Mothae have been significantly improved by the ~60% devaluation of Lesotho’s currency, the Maloti (which is pegged to the South African Rand), against the US$ since 2013.