Lucapa Diamond has announced its intention to sell its 70% stake in the Mothae diamond mine in the diamond-rich Maluti Mountains in Lesotho.

This decision follows a strategic review by Lucapa’s newly restructured board of directors.

The company is currently in discussions with the Government of Lesotho, which holds the remaining 30% interest in the mine, regarding the divestment options.

Commissioned in 2019, the Mothae mine operates as an open cast mine and is known to produce large, high-value diamonds.

In preparation for the divestment, Lucapa is finalising a data room for interested parties.

The board has expressed its commitment to prioritising the sale process.

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Lucapa chairman Stuart Brown said: “On review, it is clear the company should streamline the portfolio to focus on our core assets in Africa and Australia.

“The company’s collaboration with the Lesotho Government on the Mothae Diamond Mine has been rewarding and our management have worked exceptionally well to optimise the plant to recover large diamonds. We expect there will be significant interest from those within the diamond industry and on a wider scale.”

The mine, which has a life of more than 20 years, was placed on care and maintenance in late March 2020 due to the Covid-19 lockdown. It restarted operations with 75% of nameplate capacity in October 2020.

Lucapa, which is exploring for diamonds in Australia, Angola and Botswana, is undertaking a feasibility study into the development of the Merlin Diamond Project in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Australian Natural Diamonds, a unit of Lucapa, acquired Merlin in 2021.