ASX-listed diamond junior Newfield Resources has sold its first lot of diamonds produced from its Tongo mine in Sierra Leone for US$1.44 million at an average price of US$269 per carat.
A carat is the unit of weight for gemstones — one carat equals 200 milligrams or 0.2 of a gram.
For comparison, a fifth of a gram of coffee beans costs about US$0.09.
The sale was conducted via Bonas Group, the world’s largest global independent diamond and gemstone tender and auction house.
A total of 5330 carats were sold via tender, with single stones up to 9 carats in size.
The process experienced strong demand, with the 15 lots of diamonds on offer viewed by 100 companies. A total of 411 bids were received and all lots sold.
More diamond sales are planned for this year as Tongo mine production powers on.
The parcel sold included 203 carats of goods previously mined from a now-discontinued alluvial operation in Sierra Leone. A total of 5128 carats were sold from the Tongo mine.
The average price per carat comfortably exceeds the company’s modelled diamond price of US$222 per carat coming from its mine.
There was strong demand across the board for our product, which comprised of predominantly quality gem diamonds. This demand for high quality diamonds is reflected in the high average price of US$269 per carat achieved.
This high diamond value realised, coupled with the high mining grades of 2.7 carats per tonne previously reported, is very encouraging and demonstrates the potential of the Tongo Mine to be a high grade and high value diamond mine.
The Tongo diamond mine comprises two adjacent mining leases covering a combined area of 134 square kilometres in eastern Sierra Leone. Newfield’s 8.3 million carat resource is contained within five kimberlites — rocks that form from cooling magma and are a major source of diamonds.
Notably, Newfield has identified six more diamond-bearing kimberlites on its ground that it is yet to build into its resource.
The current mine plan is focusing on developing and mining two of the kimberlites — Kundu and Lando — where a probable reserve of 1.1 million carats has been declared for the upper 110m.
The US Geological Survey says that most diamond ore bodies have a diamond content ranging from less than 1 carat per tonne to about 6 carats per tonne of ore.
The Kundu kimberlite inferred resource contains 2.76 million carats at a grade of 3.2 carats per tonne and the Lando kimberlite inferred resource contains 3.03 million carats at a grade of 2.8 carats per tonne.
The geological body pegs Sierra Leone as world’s eighth largest diamond producer, with its 2021 production of 520,000 carats more than doubling the 220,000 produced in Australia.
Interestingly, Russia is in first place on the podium with 18 million carats, followed by Canada with 13 million and Botswana 12 million.
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