Key Facts

Location: The Kingdom of Lesotho, Maluti Mountains

Ownership: Firestone Diamonds 75 per cent interest, 25 per cent interest held by the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho


Liqhobong timeline


  • Ore bodies discovered in the Maluti Mountains of northern Lesotho


  • First large scale evaluation programme undertaken on the Main Pipe
  • Comprised satellite and main pipes – 8.6 hectare of kimberlite pipe, contains probable Diamond Reserve of 9.5 million carats


  • Production commenced at Satellite Pipe


  • Definitive Feasibility Study for development of Main Pipe commenced


  • Production suspended at Satellite Pipe


  • Liqhobong was acquired by Firestone Diamonds from Kopane Diamonds for US$71 million


  • Production restarted by Firestone Diamonds. Pilot plant, produced in excess of 325,000 carats
  • High incidence of fancy yellow stones and potential for large stones


  • Completed DFS which set out the basis for an open pit mine with a 15 year life, producing 3.6 million tonnes per annum, yielding in excess of 1 million carats


  • Restructuring in place, new CEO, Stuart Brown joined Firestone Diamonds
  • Production suspended immediately
  • Update the DFS, revalidated initial capital expenditure for the Project and confirmed economics for Liqhobong


  • Firestone raised US$222.4 million to bring Liqhobong into production, targeting 1 million carats per annum
  • Construction activities commenced


  • Revised Mine Plant completed. Base case, post financing, NPV of US$389 million (8% discount rate), IRR of 42%, payback of 4.1 years


  • Construction completed
  • First diamond recoveries commenced, recovery of special stones and fancy yellow diamonds


  • First sale in February
  • 110 carat gem-quality light yellow diamond recovered


  • Paul Bosma appointed as new CEO.
  • In the 12 months to end-June 2018, the company’s first full financial year of production, 835,832 carats at 22 carats per hundred tonnes.


  • Comprises Satellite and Main pipes, with associated dykes, discovered in the 1950s
  • 8.6 hectare kimberlite pipe containing a probable Diamond Reserve of 9.5 million carats
  • High incidence of fancy yellow stones and potential for large stones
  • Mine plan is for open pit mining to 383 metres over 15 years producing up to 1 million carats per annum, treating 3.6 million tonnes of ore
  • Construction completed and diamond recoveries commenced 2016
  • First sales completed in Q1 2017
  • Commercial achieved 2017
  • FY2018 first full year of production

The mine currently employs more than 550 people.


Mine description

The Liqhobong Diamond Mine (‘Liqhobong’) in Lesotho is Firestone’s principal asset, and was acquired as a result of the acquisition of Kopane Diamond Developments plc in September 2010. Liqhobong is located at the head of the Liqhobong Valley in the Maluti Mountains of northern Lesotho and is operated by Liqhobong Mining Development Company (Proprietary) Limited (‘LMDC’), which is 75% owned by Firestone Diamonds and 25% owned by the Government of Lesotho.

The diamond deposit was first discovered in the late 1950s, and over the past 60 years it has been through a series of feasibility studies and trial mining phases, none of which proved to be financially viable. In 2010, Firestone acquired its 75% interest and successfully completed all the required work to finalise a detailed definitive feasibility study and subsequently raised the necessary funds to begin building in 2014.

The Company successfully completed its fast paced construction schedule for Liqhobong, which commenced in July 2014, in early Q4 2016, with zero lost time injuries, on time and on budget. Liqhobong joined the short list of diamond producers in October 2016, as its production ramp-up started. A number of special stones and coloured diamonds, have been recovered.

Firestone hosted its first diamond sale in February 2017. The results of the Company’s diamond sales are published in the Company’s quarterly reports found here.

Tonnes treated for the year to end-June 2018 was 3.8 million, 93% higher than the previous year’s 2.0 million and exceeded the plant nameplate capacity of 500 tonnes per hour (“tph”). Carats recovered of 835 832 were 128% higher than the previous year’s 365 891 and within guidance of between 800 000 and 850 000 carats. Grade recovered for the year of 21.98 cpht, was 18% higher than the previous year’s 18.61 cpht.

The Diamond Resource was updated at the end of the 2018 financial year to account for the mining that took place during the year. A total of 3.908 million tonnes and 1.068 million carats were depleted. A further 0.198 million tonnes of ore containing 0.082 million carats was reclassified as waste as a result of contamination and dilution. There was a net gain of 0.014 million tonnes containing 0.008 million carats due to changes in the pipe contact. At the end of the year, a total of 0.118 million tonnes of ore and 0.026 million carats was estimated to reside on the ROM, in pit and low-grade stockpiles. Therefore, as at 30 June 2018, the total Indicated Resource was 28.910 million tonnes at a grade of 27 cpht containing 7.793 million carats which is a 12.8% reduction compared to the 2017 Indicated Diamond Resource statement. There were no changes to the Inferred Resource.