Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Mining, a joint venture between De Beers and the southern Africa country’s government, is seeking permission to extend the lifespan of its Jwaneng mine again by digging deeper.
Jwaneng, which began operations in 1982, is currently 650 metres deep, but its owners want to deepen the pit to 830 meters (2,700 feet), which will allow continuing operations for another 11 years, to 2035, and extracting a further 50 million carats.
This is not the first time Debswana decides to invest in expanding Jwaneng, the world’s No.1 diamond producing mine by value.
The company is actually is in the final stages of a $3-billion expansion plan, dubbed Cut 8, that began in 2010, and which aimed extending the lifespan of the mine to 2024.
The next expansion project, known as Cut 9, involves removing waste from the bottom of the mine, while both widening and deepening the pit, Bloomberg reports.
Jwaneng mine still holds almost 175 million carats, and another 24.3 million carats in tailings dumps.
Botswana intends to bundle the financing for Cut 9 into its negotiations with De Beers concerning the renewal of a 10-year sales deal covering output from Debswana’s mines.
That agreement ends in September 2020, Mmegi online reported, and ahead of the talks, the country’s government has already formed a steering committee, which consists of public sector technocrats, consultants, lawyers and others.
Feasibility studies for the Cut 9 project are expected to be completed by the end of this year.