TOMRA’s solution delivered very quickly, exceeding all expectations: “When we put in the large diamond recovery circuit in 2015, it was within 2 weeks of making this investment, which was somewhere around 30 to 35 Million dollars, that we recovered those two exceptionally large diamonds, so in this case it was under 2 weeks we’d already had two times our return on that investment,” says Eira Thomas.
Lucara Diamond Corporation owns the Karowe diamond mine in Botswana, which has been in production since 2012. The mine is recognised as one the foremost producers of very large, high-quality Type IIA diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats.
Initial work on the mine was carried out by previous owners in the 1970s with the technology available at the time, which had its limitations: “what we realised in looking at the diamonds that resulted from that work is that many of them were actually broken,” explains Eira Thomas, CEO of Lucara.
“When production started, it became apparent that the diamond population was quite coarse, and that necessitated a re-think on how we could adjust or optimise flow sheet focused on diamond value preservation. That was our real focus and goal in starting the conversation with TOMRA, about how can we do this better, how can we actually get diamonds out of our mineralized ore in a more efficient way and in a way that actually maximizes the value of those diamonds and minimizes the damage of those goods.”