Lucara Diamond inks US $220M for Karowe expansion in Botswana

Canada’s Lucara has inked a US $200million loan set to boost underground expansion of its Karowe mine in Botswana.

Chief executive Eira Thomas confirmed the report and said that the now fully financed project would extend Karowe’s mine life to at least 2040. It is also projected to deliver at least $4 billion in additional revenues using conservative diamond price assumptions.

“We believe this expansion project comes at the right time in the market cycle, with improving supply and demand fundamentals helping to stabilize and support stronger diamond prices in the short and longer term,” said Thomas.

Highest-margin diamond mines in the world

Karowe remains one of the highest-margin diamond mines in the world, producing an average of 300,000 high-value carats each year. The mine, which began commercial operations in 2012, has already become the only one in recorded history to have yielded two 1,000+ carat diamonds — the 1,758 carat Sewelô in 2019 and the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona in 2015, which sold for $53 million.

The package involves a project finance facility of US $170 million for the expansion and a working capital facility of US $50 million to bankroll the ongoing operation of the open-pit mine. It is backed by five major banks: ING Bank, Natixis, Société Générale London Branch, Africa Finance Corporation and Afreximbank.

“Credit commitments for the arrangement of more than US $200-million senior debt facilities from five leading international institutions are a strong endorsement of the mining company’s expansion plans,” said CEO Eira Thomas.


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