In a press release dated 2nd February 2016, London-listed Gem Diamonds Ltd., a leading producer of high-value diamonds in the world and the owners of Letšeng Mine in Lesotho and the Ghagoo Mine in Botswana, has released its trading update for Q4 2017 detailing the Group’s operational and sales performance for the period from 1 October 2017 to 31 December 2017.
According to this update the Company achieved an average price of US$ 2,217 per carat for Q4 2017, equivalent to a 19% increase, over the price-per-carat value of US$ 1,858 realized in Q3 2017. During this period the company sold 31,476 carats of diamonds, which was 21% more than the 25,909 carats sold in Q3 2017.
The recovery of large gem-quality diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight no doubt had a significant impact on the overall price-per-carat value of the diamonds sold. In the year 2017 seven gem-quality diamonds greater than 100 carats in weight were recovered at the Letšeng Mine in Lesotho of which the largest, a Type IIa diamond weighing 202.16 carats was recovered in November, Q4 2017.
Overall in the year 2017, 38 Diamonds sold for more than US$ 1.0 million each, generating a total revenue of US$ 94.8 million. This was an improvement of total sales achieved in 2016 of US$ 73.7 million, which included 34 diamonds sold for more than US$ 1.0 million each.
The Company’s prospects for the New Year 2018, looks even brighter than 2017, given the fact that on 15 January 2018, the Company announced the landmark recovery of an exceptional quality 910 carat, D Colour Type IIa diamond, the largest diamond to be mined to date at Letšeng and also believed to be the fifth largest gem quality diamond ever recovered in the world. This land mark recovery was soon followed by four more large diamonds greater than 100 carats, weighing respectively in descending order as 149.43 carats, 117.67 carats, 116.98 carats and 110.63 carats. A high-quality 8.53 carat pink diamond was also recovered in January 2018.
Commenting on the Company’s overall performance for 2017 and Q4 2017 and the brighter prospects for 2018, Gem Diamonds’ CEO, Clifford Elphick said, “The recovery of the 910 carat diamond is a landmark for all of Gem Diamonds’ stakeholders, including our employees, shareholders and the Government of Lesotho, our partner in the Letšeng mine. It is also encouraging to see that the improvement in the recovery of greater than 100 carat diamonds is continuing into 2018, with five greater than 100 carat diamonds recovered in the first month of 2018. This is largely attributable to the ongoing technical improvements made at the Letšeng mine.
It is also pleasing to see carats sold during the Period up by 21% over the previous period. The market for Letšeng’s high-quality diamonds remained robust over the Period, achieving an average price of US$ 2 217 per carat, up 19% from the previous quarter.
Significant progress has also been made on the business efficiency and optimization programme. Further details will be released in the Full Year 2017 results on 14 March 2018.”