Lucapa restarts mining operations at Lulo mine in Angola

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Lucapa Diamond is restarting operations at its Lulo mine in Angola. The operations will be on a two-shift, six-day week basis, with 50% of its workforce. This is following the temporary shutdown of the mine since April 1st, in line with the country’s declaration of State of Emergency to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to the diamond producer, the plan is to be ready to ramp up to full- scale operations once restrictions are completely lifted. The Managing Director Stephen Wetherall , in a statement, said that Lucapa and its partners continue to work with leaders in the mining industry on innovative solutions to ensure that their mines receive the best possible value for their special product.

The miner has a 40% stake in the prolific Lulo mine, which hosts the world’s highest dollar-per-carat alluvial diamonds. The rest is held by Angola’s national diamond company (Endiama) and Rosas & Petalas, a private entity.

Meanwhile, Lucapa’s Mothae mine in Lesotho is still on care and maintenance while the company negotiates with the government on a potential restart of mining activities at the 1.1m tonne per annum (Mtpa) treatment plant.

Effects of COVID-19 on the diamond industry

The diamond industry has not been left behind among the industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The effects are being felt in the decrease in demand from China, the world’s second-largest market after the United States. This is also following a long-dragged out trade war and anti-government protests in Hong Kong in 2019.

On the other hand, India where most stones are cut and polished is over a month in lockdown. As such, he future is not so bright for other key nations such as top retailers and players. Global demand for all types of diamonds fell between 2018 and 2019, affecting small stones producers the most, due to an oversupply in that segment that dragged prices down.

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