LUCARA 2011 YEAR END HIGHLIGHTS

Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA


March 22, 2012 (LUC – TSX, LUC – BSE, LUC – NASDAQ OMX First North) … Lucara Diamond Corp. (“Lucara” or the “Company”) is pleased to report on an outstanding year of achievement for the Company.  

 

Highlights include:

  • The start of commissioning of the new Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.    Acquiring a valuable resource, and financing and building a new state-of-the-art mine within only 18 months of a positive feasibility study is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to our top class development and operations team. 
  • Total ore mined at Karowe forecast for 2012 is 1.9 million tonnes and expected to achieve an annualized rate of  2.5 million tonnes per year in Q3, 2012.
  • Diamond sales forecast at 300,000 carats in 2012 achieving an annualized 400,000 carats per year. First diamond sale expected during the second quarter of 2012.
  • Operating costs of $20 per tonne anticipated to be achieved by Q4, 2012.
  • Karowe is an important new mine in the diamond industry. Modelled diamond valuations increased by 24% to $301 per carat (at a 1.5mm cut off size) in a new independent report completed in November, 2011. The independent valuation was completed by Mercury Diamond with the associated revenue modelling completed by The MSA Group in reports dated November, 2011.
  • Construction capital for the new Karowe mine is trending within the forecast budget of $120 million.  Construction financing and general working capital for the Company was raised through a combination of equity and debt which includes the recently announced $25 million revolving credit facility with the Bank of Nova Scotia.
  • At Mothae, the Company’s other diamond project, located in Lesotho, trial mining to date has met or exceeded expectations. The trial mining program involves the processing of 720,000 tonnes of kimberlite in order to establish operational and economic data for possible future mine development. As of December 31, 2011, over 405,000 tonnes of kimberlite have been processed, yielding in excess of 13,220 carats (2mm cut-off).  
  • Many of the stones recovered at Mothae have been large, high quality diamonds including several Type IIa’s.  Recent examples were a 28.89 carat diamond which sold at auction for $1.6 million ($57,113/ct), a 56.51 carat diamond which sold for $2.1 million ($37,019/ct), and a 19.20 carat diamond which sold for $490,000 ($25,520/ct). These prices signify the exceptional quality and size of the stones that are regularly recovered from Mothae.
  • The Company completed two sales of Mothae diamonds during the year, earning gross proceeds of $14.6 million (average $881/carat). These excellent results triggered the commissioning of a preliminary economic assessement, which is currently underway, and is expected to be completed in Q4, 2012. Mining, processing and infrastructure costs will be defined to a pre-feasibility level as part of the study. 
  • During the year, the Company graduated to the Toronto Stock Exchange from the TSX Venture Exchange, reflecting the Company’s growth and status as near-term diamond producer.  In addition, the Company listed on the  NASDAQ OMX exchange in Stockholm and the Botswana Exchange reflecting the strong international interest in the Company. 

 

William Lamb, President and CEO of the Company, commented, ”We’ve had an excellent, solid year of achievements as we prepare for the transition of Lucara from a development company to a new diamond producer.  The delivery of the Karowe Mine in 2012 is testament to managements ability to deliver a world class diamond mine on budget. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished and look forward to an exciting new chapter ahead as we enter the exclusive world of diamond producers.”

 

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For complete news release and report, please see attached file.

         For further information, please contact:
         Sophia Shane, Corporate Development +1 (604) 689-7842
         Robert Eriksson, Investor Relations, Sweden +46 701-112615


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