Company resilient, defeats COVID-19 suppression
Lucara enjoyed record gem recoveries in 2020
MD Lahri optimistic, lauds Karowe mine for success
Blue chip giant stones mining company Lucara Botswana withstood the COVID-19 pandemic showing resilience in the midst of economic storm.
Lucara Botswana Managing Director Naseem Lahri said – in the 2020 sustainability report – that the year tested them in the every aspect of work and personal lives respectively.
She said Lucara Botswana remained resilient, adaptable and innovative adding that it was able to stay fully operational through the exceptional efforts of the company’s entire workforce.
“We adapted early in the year, implementing our crisis management plan which focused on keeping our workforce safe by strengthening hygiene measures, reducing on-site staffing by identifying those positions that could work remotely, introducing the travel restrictions and adopting safe working distances. We installed thermal monitors to screen individuals as they entered and exited Karowe and conducted aCOVID-19 baseline assessment using PCR Testing,” said Lahri.
Recognising the importance of mental health in the workplace during the pandemic, Lahri said at Lucara Botswana they provided on-going counselling for Lucara workforce and their families.
“I am proud to report that all of the policies, practices and efforts made have resulted in zero job loss. This year we successfully completed the XRT upgrade. The upgrade ensures continued success in diamond recovery. We had a record year in 2020, with 34 diamonds recovered weighing over 100 carats each, and a record volume of specials (diamonds exceeding 10.8 carats in weight),” she said.
Lahri said the company continued contributions to the economic development of Botswana. She said financial contributions totalled $125.78 million, plus royalties, taxes and community investment ($14.73 million), employee compensation ($19.64 million), and national procurement ($91.24 million).
Meanwhile, Lahri said the 1 174.76 carat diamond from Karowe mine reflects resilience.
Presenting the diamond to President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Cabinet on Wednesday, overjoyed Lahri said Botswana was in the top regarding 10 largest stone globally taking position 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
She said that the majority of largest stones in the context of Botswana come from Lucara Botswana, except one 1 098 carat diamond that was discovered by the Debswana mine.
“We own karowe mine in Letlhakane and the mine produces the type 2 diamonds. These are very unique stones in the world and we are blessed as Lucara and the country to be producing them. The reason we are recovering the large stones is because of the technology that we have implemented at Lucara being the SRT technology. We are also enabled by the jurisdiction which is a stable one. It enables us to recover safely with the government officials with us,” said Lahri.
The diamond, according to Lucara measuring 77x55x33mm, is a clivage gem of variable quality with significant domains of high-quality white gem material and was recovered from direct milling of ore sourced from the EM/PK(S) unit of the South Lobe.
The 1,174 carat diamond represents the third +1,000 carat diamond recovered from the South Lobe of the AK6 kimberlite since 2015 including the 1,758 carat Sewelô and 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona.
Chief Executive Officer and President of Lucara Diamond Corporation Eira Thomas said despite the challenges faced during COVID-19, Karowe continued to build on the strong operational successes of previous years with continued resilience in recovering of large diamonds.
“Through a strategic management we were able to meet our production guidance in terms of tonnes mined, milled and carats recovered. We also had a record year in respect of-the recovery of large diamonds greater than 10.8 carats in size referred to as specials which typically contribute 70% of our annual revenues,” said Thomas, reflecting on the year 2020 impressive performance.