Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) has renewed two “strategic” licences to the end of 2021 and is considering a joint venture to develop those projects, in the country’s Kalahari Desert.
The licences, which cover just over 300 square miles, are located west of the Ghaghoo diamond mine, which Gem Diamonds (LON:GEMD) sold in June to local company Pro Civil for $5.4 million.
The company has already identified prospective drill-ready targets through intensive work including aeromagnetic surveys, ground magnetic exploration, soil sampling and target selection.
Botswana Diamonds became the sole owner of the PL232 and PL235 licences in November last year, after buying Russian diamond miner Alrosa’s 50% stake in their Sunland Minerals joint venture (JV).
Botswana, which was overtaken by Russia as the world’s top diamond producing country in 2014, is grappling with aging mines, as well as power and water shortages.
Still, the nation is home to some of the world’s most prolific diamond mines, including Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Karowe operation, where the now-famous Lesedi la Rona, the second-largest gem-quality diamond ever found, was unearthed in 2016.
Besides diamonds, the country also produces nickel, copper, coal and iron ore.