UK-headquartered Gem Diamonds has announced that it plans to re-start production at its Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho today, following a relaxation on lockdown laws from the Lesotho Government that will see mines re-opened across the country.

Lesotho is one of only two African countries to not have reported a single case of Covid-19, and the government has taken this as a sign that the virus does not pose a significant enough threat to the country’s health to warrant the closure of one of its most profitable industries; according to the Lesotho Bureau of Statistics, the country’s mining sector added nearly $14m to national GDP in the first half of 2019.

Gem Diamonds has announced that the re-opening will be done “in accordance with a phased ramp-up plan which is compliant with health and safety protocols formulated by health experts for the prevention of Covid-19 disease.

“This plan also reflects the practical supply chain and market considerations arising from the continued lockdown in Lesotho, South Africa, Belgium and other relevant jurisdictions.”