Lucara Leans on X-ray Tech for Improved Diamond Recovery

Four additional XRT diamond recovery units, at an estimated cost of $30 million, will be installed at Karowe to
improve recovery of diamonds in the 4- to 8-mm size range. (Photo: Lucara Diamond)
Lucara Diamond Corp. is installing more X-ray transmission (XRT) technology at its Karowe diamond mine in Botswana to process finer size fractions of diamonds. The project involves the installation of four new XRT diamond recovery units and associated conveying and screening infrastructure. The new units will target recovery of diamonds in the size range between 4 mm and 8 mm.

The XRT technology will process the very dense, high-quality ore that occurs at depth in the Karowe mine’s south lobe and is expected to provide the most efficient and cost-effective methodology available for processing this ore. The project is forecast to cost up to $30 million and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Lucara President and CEO William Lamb said, “The extension of XRT technology to recover the majority of our diamonds at Karowe maximizes our overall processing efficiency and will contribute to continued strong operating margins across the entire value range for our high-quality south lobe diamonds.

“In addition, the implementation of the new sorters will allow for improved control of the size fractions treated by the XRT machines, allowing for improved flexibility and an expected improvement in production rates.”

Lucara made headlines in November 2015 when it recovered a 1,109-carat, gem-quality diamond at the Karowe mine. The magnificent stone, which originated from the south lobe of the mine, is the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered and the largest ever to be recovered through a modern processing facility. It measures 65 mm x 56 mm x 40 mm.

The 1,109-carat diamond has been named “Lesedi La Rona,” which means “Our Light” in Botswana’s majority Tswana language. The diamond was offered at auction in late June of this year but was withdrawn and continues to be held by Lucara after the bidding did not meet the reserve price established before the auction began.

As featured in Womp 2016 Vol 09 -