A rare 9.46 carat blue diamond recently recovered at Karowe Mine was auctioned in Gaborone this week at a whopping P36 million (4.5 million).
The precious stone was sold as part of Lucara Diamond's fourth auction of the year in which 52 lots containing 56,982 carats were put up for sale. Lucara recovered the rare Type II blue diamond early this month from its wholly owned Karowe Mine in the Boteti. The mine was commissioned early this year.
"All lots were sold for an average price of $300 per carat yielding gross proceeds of $17.14 million. The jewel of the sale was the 9.46 carat blue diamond, which sold for $4,515,000 or $477,272 per carat. Also included in the sale was a second small blue diamond weighing 0.64 carats which sold for $24,500 or $38,282 per carat," said Lucara in a statement.
The diamonds were sold on tender with pre-sale viewings at the Diamond Technology Park (DTP) in Gaborone and Antwerp. The blue Type II diamond is one of the most expensive in the world. At June 2012 diamond prices, Karowe Mine estimates to sell diamonds worth P650 million per annum and pay P140 million to government in royalties and taxes.
According to prices.com, natural blue diamonds are exceptionally rare and have achieved record prices at auctions in recent years. In October 2010, a 10.95-carat fancy vivid blue diamond, the 'Bulgari Blue' broke auction records selling for $15.7 million. Two months ago, another Botswana Stock Exchange listed company, Firestone Diamonds recovered a rare 27-carat Type ll blue diamond at its Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho, which appeared to have originated from a stone in excess of 200 carats.
"The sales numbers for our fourth sale of Karowe diamonds are a fantastic result for Lucara. The value received for the exceptionally rare blue diamond has added significantly to the sale. The occurrence of the two blue diamonds sold confirm the excellent quality of the resource at Karowe," William Lamb, president and CEO of Lucara said.
The final sale of Karowe diamonds in 2012 will take place next month with an expected sales volume of approximately 57,000 carats. Karowe is the only operating diamond mine outside the Debswana stable, following the temporary closure of Firestone's BK11 Mine and Lerala.
Lamb said Karowe Mine would continue to process ore and mine to achieve a targeted production of 270,000 carats and sales of approximately 230,000 carats in 2012. The mine is expected to process 2.5 million tonnes of ore per annum to recover 400,000 carats in a year over its 15-year life span.