Diamonds may very well be an investor’s best friend this morning with the Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX: LOM) announcing the finding of the 24th 100+ carat diamond from the Lulo alluvial diamond mine in Angola.
The 138 carat stone brings the Company’s tally of 100+ carat diamonds found this year alone to 7. It is the 24th 100+ carat diamond found since mining operations at Lulo began in 2015.
While the Company probably should have used a banana for scale to give investors an appreciation of the diamond’s size, judging by the reflection of the photographer in the stone, it looks pretty damn large. Danny Archer, eat your heart out.
The stone however, pales in comparison to two other notable findings at the Lulo mine- Angola’s two largest recorded diamonds weighing 404 carats and 227 carats.
The Lulo mine is well established as one of the highest average US dollar per carat alluvial diamond producers worldwide. Last year Lulo achieved gross revenues of over USD $200 million with an average sale price of around $1,780 per carat.
The COVID pandemic had a pronounced effect on the industry, with demand for jewelry dropping due to decreases in disposable income. Rough diamond sales fell by over 30% in the pandemic year. That being said, a customer sentiment survey carried out by Bain and Company in 2020 revealed that US consumers said that jewelry and watches are among the top four gifts they would like to receive; consumers in China and India ranked these as top two.
Thanks to decades of clever marketing from the De Beers Diamond Company, not even a pandemic can affect our emotional connection with diamonds. 70% of survey respondents believed that diamonds were an essential part of marriage engagement, with 80% of consumers saying they still intend to spend the same amount or more on a diamond regardless of the financial crisis.
Despite the pandemic’s effects on the USD $30 billion per year industry, the demand for diamonds is expected to return to its historic trajectory, growing at a rate of 1-3% per annum.
The Lucapa Diamond Company reported USD $6.2 million EBITDA for the full year ending 31 December 2020.