Operations overview




The Letšeng mine is located in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho and is renowned for its recovery of large, high quality, exceptional Type II diamonds.

Among these diamonds recovered are the 910 carat Lesotho Legend, the 603 carat Lesotho Promise, the 550 carat Letšeng Star and the 493 carat Letšeng Legacy.

For images of these and other famous diamonds, please see Our Diamonds


The Ghaghoo mine, situated near the south-eastern border of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve was acquired by Gem Diamonds in May 2007 with a 25 year mining licence obtained from January 2011, and is the first underground diamond mine in Botswana. The mine consists of a 10.4ha kimberlite pipe, and has an insitu value of US$4.9 billion (as at 1 January 2014). Diamonds produced at Ghaghoo are of a commercial quality and lower value and size than those from Letšeng.

The Ghaghoo mine was placed on care and maintenance in 2017 following the weak state of the diamond market for the category of diamonds produced at Ghaghoo and a decision was made to proceed with the sale of the Ghaghoo mine.

During the first six months of 2018 a formal sale process to sell the Ghaghoo mine commenced with Nedbank Capital being appointed as the corporate advisor on the transaction and initial non-binding offers were received in July 2018.


Recovery of 910 carat Lesotho Legend, largest Letšeng diamond ever recovered to date, sold for US$40.0 million

Record recovery of 10 diamonds larger than 100 carats

Average price of US$ 2 742* per carat achieved (US$1 779* per carat in H1 2017)

Construction of the relocated mining complex complete on time and under budget

Reported four lost time injuries in Q1, none in Q2


Continue to focus on plant availability and process stability

Continue to pursue and implement efficiency and cost reduction initiatives identified

Continue work streams on enhancing value through reducing diamond damage

Complete core drilling program and commence core analysis

Safe implementation of the pit slope steepening

Reducing diamond breakage

Letšeng has also produced high quality pink and blue diamonds, with a rare blue diamond achieving a sales price of US$603 047 per carat in 2013 and an exceptional pink diamond achieving $187 700 per carat in 2016.

Letšeng ranks in the top 15 global diamond producers by revenue. The large high value diamonds from Letšeng account for 70% to 80% of the Group’s revenue annually.

Letšeng has grown to be one of the largest open pit diamond mines in the world, processing ore from two kimberlite pipes, the Main pipe 17.0ha and the Satellite pipe 5.2ha. In 2017, initiatives were undertaken to unlock additional value, which included an updated open-pit life of mine plan, large diamond recovery and breakage initiative projects, and a mining optimisation project.

Sales, marketing and manufacturing


To ensure Gem Diamonds achieves the highest returns for rough and polished diamonds, the Company invests in and improves its intellectual property in all sales, marketing and manufacturing operations.

From Letšeng mine

The Letšeng mine produces large, exceptional-quality diamonds which supply the very top end of the diamond market.

Letšeng’s top-quality diamonds are sent from Lesotho to Baobab Technologies in Antwerp for analysis to achieve the greatest returns at each of the diamond tenders.

Analysing and manufacturing

Baobab Technologies

Baobab Technologies’ advanced mapping and analysis of Letšeng’s top-quality rough diamonds assists in assessing appropriate true values of these rough diamonds before they are presented for sale.

This in depth knowledge provides the basis for setting robust reserve prices for each of the high value diamonds at each tender and assists in making strategic selling, partnering or manufacturing decisions.

Sales and marketing services

Gem Diamonds benefits from actively managing its own multi-channel marketing strategy and by establishing and developing relationships with new and existing clients.

Gem Diamonds maximises revenue from its rough diamonds through a combination of channels, which includes tenders and partnerships, in addition to pursuing additional initiatives further down the diamond pipeline.

The polished diamonds are also sold through direct selling channels to prominent high-end diamantaires.


Gem Diamonds client base consists of prominent high end diamantaires and manufacturers from the world’s major diamond centres: New York, Belgium, Israel, India, China, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Switzerland.