In January 2017, Lucapa secured a 70% interest in the advanced, high-value Mothae kimberlite project for US$9 million through an international tender run by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho (GoL), which retains a 30% interest.
Mothae sits within a cluster of operating kimberlite diamond mines in Lesotho and is located within 5km of Letseng, the richest $ per carat kimberlite diamond mine in the world. It is less than 2km from a sealed highway to the capital of Maseru.
Mothae is a well-defined kimberlite with a surface area of 8.8 hectares. The pipe has a JORC classified diamond resource of more than 1 million carats at an average modelled diamond value of US$1,063 per carat (Refer ASX announcement 24 March 2017).
The >21,000 carats of diamonds recovered from an extensive previous trial mining phase at Mothae were, like Letseng, of exceptional size and quality, achieving sale price of up to US$41,500 per carat.
As part of the acquisition, the GoL has issued a new 10 year mining licence for Mothae, which has an automatic right of renewal for a further 10 years.
The economics of developing Mothae have been enhanced significantly by favourable exchange rate movements and the adoption of a staged, low-risk development plan. Phase 1 production from Mothae is scheduled for early H2 2018.