All systems go for Debswana’s Cut 8 project

by Ina King (Potgieter)

Turnkey mining projectsThe world’s leading diamond company, Debswana, has started processing ore from the $3-billion expansion of its Jwaneng diamond mine, popularly known as Cut 8.

Debswana started this Cut 8 project in 2010 and is expected to uncover 100-million carats of diamonds and extend the life of the world's richest diamond mine to 2024.

Addressing stakeholders and media, Debswana Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo said that 88% of an estimated 500-million tonnes of waste above diamond bearing ore had been stripped away by the end of March 2017.

"Cut 8 is on track to meet its objectives and ore from the mine expansion project is now being delivered to the main treatment plant," Bonyongo added.

Bonyongo said Debswana would produce about 20.5-million carats this year, or slightly more as the company continues with its strategy of producing to demand.

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Debswana will also close its 42-year-old Letlhakane diamond mine this year and it will be replaced by a tailings plant, which is expected to be commissioned before June. Adding that "the Letlhakane mine has come to the end of its life span. We have invested 2.1-billion pula into a tailings plant which is expected to mine about 800 000 carats over 20 years from the dumps.”

Anglo American, which owns 85% of De Beers, released figures that show that Debswana's production dropped by a marginal 3% to 5.2-million carats in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.

About Debswana:

Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd is a unique partnership between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Group of Companies. The company was incorporated in 1969 under the name of De Beers Botswana Mining Company and this was later changed to Debswana Diamond Company.

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