Australian diamond miner Lucapa plans to commission its new mine in Lesotho later this year, adding to an existing major Angolan project, a company official said on Monday.

Lucapa, which is already mining large, premium value diamonds at its Lulo mine in Angola, expects to do the same at its new Mothae project in Lesotho, making it the only company in the world mining diamonds from two projects at more than U.S $1000 per carat, spokesman Mark Drummond said.

"We’re at a critical stage and later on this year we will be fully commissioned," Drummond told the African News Agency on the sidelines of the annual "mining indaba" in Cape Town.

"We’re doing bulk sampling and we would hope to have some diamonds very very soon, ahead of the full commissioning. We believe that when we do that, international investors will sit up and take notice of what an exceptional project this is."

- African News Agency (ANA)