COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2010) - Lucara Diamond Corp. (TSX
or the "Company") is pleased to report the results of a new valuation of
diamonds recovered from the AK-6 kimberlite on its recently acquired Boteti project
in the Orapa-Lethlakane diamond district of Botswana.
A valuation of 1,760 carats of diamonds from
the AK6 kimberlite was undertaken in Geneva by Shlomo Tidhar of Mercury
Diamonds resulting in an overall value for the parcel of US$162 per carat. The
diamond parcel included 1,175.7 carats of diamonds recovered from large
diameter drill samples that were processed to recover diamonds greater than 1
mm, and 584.5 carats of diamonds recovered from trench samples that were
processed to recover diamonds at both a 1 mm and 2 mm cutoff.
Mercury noted that "Overall the diamonds
from AK6 are deemed to be of very good quality and very attractive to diamond
buyers. Colours are generally very white and the samples showed numerous
examples of 'blocky' makeable and strong crystal forms that tend to lead to
strong polished yields and demand a premium. There was a significant presence
of Type IIA stones including 12+ carat stones that had been broken into 8 or
more fragments". Mercury noted significant diamond breakage in the parcel,
which is believed to be caused by the drilling and diamond recovery process. In
this regard, Mercury commented that "there is much upside valuation
potential if breakage were to be reduced and/or eliminated". In considering
the extent of diamond breakage, presence of Type IIA stones and comparatively
coarse size distribution, Mercury summarized that "In Mercury's opinion, it
is reasonable to expect full scale production could produce a value in the
US$200 per carat range.
Mercury noted that 34% of the value of the
sample was made-up of nine large stones greater than 5 carats.
Mr. William Lamb, Lucara's President and COO
commented, "We are pleased that this valuation is consistent with the preliminary
valuation conducted by Lucara in its due diligence work prior to acquisition of
a majority interest in Boteti. The $162 per carat value is substantially higher
than previous valuations. We note that the following factors are influential in
valuing AK-6 bulk sample diamonds:
- The current market for rough diamonds is at a volatile state, with prices having increased substantially over the past year. It is not certain if this trend will continue or if the current pricing levels can be sustained.
- The sample collection and processing techniques used in bulk sampling at Boteti resulted in significant diamond breakage. It is not possible to quantify the effect that this has had on the current valuation, but we are very encouraged by Mercury's assessment of the potential upside in diamond value if diamond breakage is minimized at full production."
Mr. Lamb further noted, "This new valuation
information will be incorporated into ongoing feasibility study work. In
particular, we are in the process of incorporating detailed valuation
information of various diamond size fractions into the process plant design so
as to optimize plant throughput and maximize revenue. The existing conceptual
mine plan considers initial plant throughput of 2.0 million tonnes per annum;
we believe that this can be increased to between 2.5 and 3.0 million tonnes per
annum based on this new valuation work."
Lucara and its joint venture partner, African
Diamonds Limited, are in the process of upgrading a conceptual mine plan to
feasibility level for the Boteti project and this work is expected to be
completed by May, 2010, with the aim to commence commercial production in late
2011. MSA Geoservices of Johannesburg, South Africa has been commissioned to
prepare a NI 43-101 compliant Independent Report on the Boteti project which is
expected to be completed in March, 2010.
This news release has been reviewed and
approved by Dr. Larry Ott, Lucara's V.P. Exploration, a Qualified Person in
terms of NI43-101.
On Behalf of the Board,
President and COO