Start of alluvial mining at Lulo Project – Lucapa Diamond Compa

Lucapa Diamond Mining – Alluvial mining operations due next January

Lucapa Diamond Company just announced (Dec 18) that they will launch mining next January.

You can get their announcement here and an earlier one about recent (Dec 8) bulk sampling results here. These results (high grade bulk sampling) are particularly interesting as they are close to the current plant location.

A quick look into the detailed data just released shows some promise:

  • Grades are interesting –  10.7 cphm3, or 0.107 carats per in situ cubic meter; please note though that sampling grades in alluvial deposits have a marked nugget effect. These are bulk (large volume) samples which attenuate that effect but do they represent the general deposits?
  • Diamond size and parcel values are very good. Again, caution is always necessary, as these variables may be dependent on distance to source(s) (kimberlite). Samples do seem to have a good size. Can they be generalised to the total deposits?
  • The only darker shades of grey are the facts that operations are starting in the worst time possible – the peak of the rainy season and the apparently tight money (as they will need further capital for efficiency improvements, some of it obtained with a scheduled diamond sale):

As part of the diamond mining preparations, Lucapa is evaluating various debt financing options to fund the following Phase 1 optimisation and technology improvements:

– 150 tonne per hour treatment plant allow for wet gravel reception during the heavy rainfall months;

– Recovery plant – investment in new x luminescent Type IIa diamonds, which bulk sampling results the diamond population; and

– Working capital – Phase 1 mining throughput (bcm) per month within H1 2015 capital requirement will be supplemented with the sale of a third parcel of diamonds during Q1 2015.

All in all, Lulo Project shows good promise; they have still hurdles to overcome.

Published by

Luís Chambel

Exploration & Research Mining Engineer, MSc Engineering Geology, MBA, PhD European Engineer -EUR ING; Euro Geologist - EURO GEOL

5 thoughts on “Start of alluvial mining at Lulo Project – Lucapa Diamond Compa

  1. That grade corresponds to about 0.04 ct per tonne. The average value of the diamonds would need to be at least $1000/ct for the operation to be viable. This figure may be possible given what has been recovered to date.

    1. Hello John. I would guess closer to 5 ct per hundred ton (specific gravity of gravel close to 2 t/m3 under my assumption); I won’t dispute your price, as I don’t know the quality.
      I would say that a 0.20 ct/m3 (10 ct per hundred ton) @ 200 USD/ct, i.e, 40 USD/m3 would be a good enough deposit in the Angolan conditions.

  2. Been operating Diamond recovery plants for many years in Angola, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Congo, Guinee and the Jequetinhonja river in Brasil and in Guyana and I still love it. Exciting!

    1. Hello Henk. I see you have been around; must have lots of memories. I have been in a couple of those places, particularly Angola and the Jequitinhonha river in Minas Gerais. Perhaps we will meet; I will be glad to talk to you in person – the first beer is on me. Luís

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