Recently, the Antwerp diamond sector and the City of Antwerp welcomed King Letsie III of Lesotho on his visit to Antwerp. Ari Epstein, CEO of the AWDC: “We are very honored to have His Majesty King Letsie III as our guest as it underscores the strong ties between Lesotho and Antwerp. In terms of value, 96.2 percent diamonds mined in Lesotho pass through Antwerp, which is quite impressive. In addition, since the opening of the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility in October 2012, half of the goods offered, were diamonds from Lesotho. Needless to say, we are very pleased Antwerp is the preferred trading partner of Lesotho.” In 2011, in terms of value, Antwerp imported the vast majority of Lesotho's total rough diamond production, for a total of 114,525.60 carats or 352 million USD.
On the four-day visit, King Letsie will get an exclusive tour behind the scenes of the Antwerp diamond square mile, including a visit to the HRD diamond lab, Diamond Office, Gem Diamonds and the Antwerp Diamond Tender Facility, where this week First Element tendered goods from the Lesotho Liqhobong Mine. In addition, the Royal delegation will be visiting the Antwerp Fashion Museum and Bruges.
The Letseng Mine, Lesotho’s biggest diamond mine, produced four out of the 20 largest white diamonds ever, including the one in 2006 discovered ‘Lesotho Promise’, the largest diamond mined in this century. Lesotho diamonds are known for their exceptional quality, and majority of them have been polished in Antwerp.