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Lucara Botswana : Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

As the first female and first Motswana woman to run an African diamond mine, we discuss tunnelling a path for women in mining with Managing Director of Lucara Botswana, Naseem Lahri.

Phoebe Harper By Phoebe Harper

Lucara Botswana

A Diamond Legacy Lucara Botswana is mining for the nation at its Karowe resource, its large premium diamonds being extracted and sold using leading-edge technology operated by upskilled local experts    Writer: Tom Wadlow  |  Project Manager: Donovan Smith Botswana’s affinity with diamonds stretches back many decades.   Serious exploration began in the 1950s in the Tuli Block along the Limpopo River, and in the years since the West African nation has become renowned for its diamond production capabilities.   Such ventures have also proven to be a vital economic contributor to Botswana, providing employment to thousands of citizens and generating enormous revenue which has funded important infrastructure projects.  “The market is stable and will not drop off,” observes Naseem Lahri, Managing Director of Lucara’s Botswana division, the first wholly private entity to be mining diamonds in the country. “Diamonds are so unique – there will always be a demand.”  Lahri is the first Botswanan woman to be promoted to the position of Managing Director in a national mining company, initially joining the organisation in 2013 following a long and fruitful journey with Debswana, the joint venture between the government and De Beers.   “I worked in auditing for a couple of different companies over several years when an opportunity to work with a colliery arose,” she recalls. “I enjoy working in challenging environments and mining certainly fits into this category, so I decided to give it a chance and stayed there for two years.   “The experience opened up my mind to the world of mining – the challenges, the opportunities, the

Donovan Smith By Donovan Smith

Lucara Diamond Corporation

Diamond in the rough Lucara's Karowe diamond mine keeps giving. Writer Ian Armitage Project manager Debbie Clark Southern Africa-focused gem producer Lucara Diamond Corp has enjoyed a spectacularly good start to 2013 - its first special tender of large and exceptional diamonds, which consisted of 15 single stone lots, sold for revenues totalling $24 million, and confirmed the quality of diamonds mined from its flagship Karowe mine, in Botswana. It's done so well it has revised its outlook for 2013. "We are ecstatic with the results of the special tender and it confirms the quality of diamonds currently being produced from Karowe," president and CEO William Lamb said at the time. The highest value stone was a 239 carat diamond, which sold for $5.75 million, while four other diamonds sold for more than $2.5 million each. "We're pleased," says Lamb, who recently spoke with Africa Outlook and carries around a replica of the huge diamond, "with the results of the special tender which was in addition to our regular tenders which have also gone well. "When the mine phoned us to tell us that they had recovered at 239 carat diamond, we quickly started to put together a press release, only to be called a couple of days later with the news that the mine recovered two more large stones weighing 123 carats and 70 carats. Over the next six weeks, Karowe had produced 85 diamonds larger than 10.8 carats. "Now, as we develop the resource further we are finding that there are 'unknowns' in the

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