Already dubbed the Star of Pniel, the gemstone quality diamond was discovered during Majestic’s final round of evaluation sampling before it commissions the mine, scheduled to be before Christmas.
Pniel is located in the Kaap Valley 30km north-west of Kimberley, the world’s most famous diamond field.
Diamonds discovered at Pniel, not surprisingly, are typical of the high value alluvial diamonds found in the Kimberley region - 95% of diamonds bagged by Majestic are of gem quality.
“The Star was discovered last Tuesday by the guys out sampling,” Majestic’s manager of investor relations Mark Dixon said. “But it was not until the managing director Rob Wilde paid a visit to the mine last week that the company was aware it.”
Wilde returned to Majestic’s head office in Perth with 180 carats of diamonds recovered from the last three weeks of sampling.
Pniel has an estimated resource of 8 million tonnes of diamondiferous gravels at a grade of 1 carat per 100t. Other major diamond discoveries at Pniel include stones of 16, 15, 10, 7, 5 and 4 carats, all of which are in the top one percentile of diamond quality and value.
“Occasionally we get the odd Cape yellow and a few blue sorts but they only make up about 5% of the total,” Dixon said.
Held for 140 years by the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Pniel Estate was relatively unexplored until Majestic acquired the project just over a year ago. An agreement was made whereby $100,000 was spent on the land and a 4.5% royalty will be paid to the church.
“The church was obviously delighted with this latest find,” Dixon said.
To date Majestic has spent $2 million on exploration at Pniel and plans to continue exploring in the area.
Majestic is ecstatic about the success of its acquisitions in South Africa.
The Schutsekema diamond project (otherwise known as the Masons Deposit) is on track to go into full production by October. And the company also intends to explore two further projects near Douglas, south-west of Kimberley.
The company has also announced to the ASX it has entered into an option agreement to acquire the Annex Saxendrift property 120km south-west of Kimberley.
Wilde said the company was on track to produce over 50,000 carats of gem quality diamonds a year by August 2001. Pniel is forecast to produce 15,000 carats annually.
Majestic has a marketing agreement with Antwerp-based Reliance BVBA to take 55% of diamonds produced. Antwerp has a cutting, polishing and retailing facility in Antwerp and Bombay.
“Antwerp was happy to take 100% of our diamonds,” Dixon said. “But we decided to market some of the diamonds in New York with Joseph Gutnick’s people.
“We are aiming at the high quality end of the market so there is no problem selling our diamonds.”
At the time of writing Majestic was trading at 27.5c, down 1c.