Lucapa Puts Lesotho Mine on Lockdown

Lucapa Diamond Company will temporarily close its Mothae mine in Lesotho during a 14-day nationwide lockdown.

Starting Thursday, the company will put the deposit on care and maintenance for two weeks to ensure the health and safety of its workers, it said Wednesday. The suspension will likely put Lucapa slightly behind its production plan for the first quarter, but should not affect it in the long term, the miner added.

“With the 45% expansion due to be completed in March, we do believe we will have a solid run for the balance of the year, and likely be able to make up for any lost time,” Lucapa managing director Stephen Wetherall told Rapaport News.

Meanwhile, Gem Diamonds, which operates the Letšeng mine in Lesotho, will remain fully operational during the country’s closure, it said. However, the miner will test its staff regularly and implement strict health and safety measures to ensure the coronavirus does not spread.

The government could extend the lockdown if the measures don’t yield the desired impact, but that information will only be known in a week to 10 days, said Wetherall.

Lucapa’s Lulo mine in Angola will remain in operation, as that country has classified mining as an essential service, he added.

 

BRON: Rapaport 14-01-2021