De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer by value, announced on Tuesday it has recovered the first diamonds from its new $2.3 billion underground operations at Venetia mine in South Africa.
The Anglo American unit stopped its 30-year open pit mining operations at Venetia in December last year to transition to the underground section of the mine, which began developing ten years ago.
“The investment in taking the world class Venetia mine underground enhances De Beers Group’s global production for the long term and is an indication of our commitment to South Africa,” Moses Madondo, managing director of De Beers Group Managed Operations said in statement.
Venetia open pit was South Africa’s largest diamond mine. Its underground is currently 70% complete and is expected to produce around 4 million carats of diamonds a year, De Beers said.
The diamond miner added that construction and production ramp up at the mine will continue, extending its productive life to at least 2045.
De Beers produced 34.6 million carats in 2022 and this year’s output is forecast to reach between 30 million and 33 million carats.