from ODIRILE TOTENG in Gaborone, Botswana
GABORONE, (CAJ News) – THE world’s most valuable diamond mine is transitioning from open pit to underground operations following an investment of US$1 billion (BWP 13,6 billion).
The board of Debswana, a 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Government of Botswana, announced it had approved the investment for a key development phase of the Jwaneng underground project.
Investment in this phase of works, known as the Exploration Access Development Phase, is for establishing a drilling platform to facilitate comprehensive sampling of the kimberlite pipes, delivering the early access decline for the underground mine and developing essential infrastructure to support forthcoming stages of the project.
The initial works, to start in May 2024, follow the completion of feasibility studies.
Following the Exploration Access Development stage, the project will be developed in two further phases, Phase 1 mining and Phase 2 mining, to support long-term future production at the mine in an environment of tightening long-term diamond supply.
“Jwaneng stands proudly as the world’s greatest diamond mine,” Al Cook, De Beers Group Chief Executive Officer and Debswana Deputy Board Chairman, said.
The executive said the global supply of natural diamonds is falling, so moving forward with the Jwaneng project creates new value for investors, brings new technology to the country, creates new skills for our workforce and provides new gems for customers around the world.
“This investment is aligned with our strategy to prioritise investments in the highest quality projects. We are proud to work in partnership with the Botswana Government in creating a bright future for Debswana,” Cook said.
Since 1982, when Jwaneng started operating, it has produced an annual average of almost 11 million carats per year.
The mine has 2 100 permanent employees and 3 200 contractors.
– CAJ News