By Abdul Rahman Bangura–
NEW AFRICA BUSINESS NEWS (NABN) Freetown, Sierra Leone- Debswana Diamond Co will expend 65-billion pula (about R85bn) to assemble the world’s biggest underground diamond mine at Botswana’s Jwaneng, which is already the wealthiest mine by value for the previous stones. Thus, the mine will have a capacity of as much as nine million carats per year, increasing Jwaneng’s lifespan by twenty years.
The underground mine will retain more than 360km of subway improvement and will hit full production by 2034, Debswana’s Head of Transformation and Innovation, Thabo Balopi, announced at a briefing in Gaborone on April 23rd, 2021.
“We are still doing the studies toward transforming to an underground producer, which is a very different environment, with different capabilities and mindset,” he stated.
Getting on underground will be a “hurdle” for the group, which has regulated entirely as an open-pit miner since its establishment in the 1970s, according to Acting Managing Director – Lynette Armstrong.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” she said during the briefing.
The board of Debswana — a 50-50 cooperative investment between De Beers and Botswana — is yet to make an ultimate development on how to finance the project, according to Head of Technical Services Len Dimbungu. The previous extension at Jwaneng had a 24-billion pula budget and modified the mine into one of the world’s largest open-pit diamond operations.
Diamond mining has traditionally fixed the Southern African nation’s economy, reckoning for the bulk of budget revenue and foreign-exchange receipts. Jwaneng, in operation since 1982, has been improved many times as its reserves decreased over the years. The mine is critical to De Beers, and produced 7.5-million carats of the group’s 2020 output of 2.1-million carats. Jwaneng produced 3.2-million carats in the first quarter, or 41% of De Beers’ total production.
For New Africa Business News (NABN) Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent
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