Debswana, the world’s richest diamond mine, might get even bigger. The Debswana Mining Company, a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers unit and Botswanan government, have sought out permission to deepen the incredibly valuable Jwaneng mine to 830 metres. The mine is currently 650 metres deep. This deepening, referred to as the Cut 9 project, is expected to extend the life of the mine by 11 years, and allow the extraction of a further 50 million carats.

About Jwaneng

The Jwaneng diamond mine is located in the Naledi Rver Valley in Southern Botswana. It is the richest diamond mine in the world by value, producing. In 2017, the company’s sales jumped 16%, contributing to a 20% increase in earnings before interest, tax and amortization, with even greater growth expected in 2018. Yearly production at Debswana sat at 22.2-million carats in 2017.

“With stable and improving macroeconomics, particularly in the US, we will see growth of the same order of magnitude or perhaps slight higher in 2018,” said Debswana’s Managing Director Balisi Bonyongo

The Cut 9 project:

The Cut 9 project will involve stripping away waste at the bottom of the mine, both widening and deepening the pit. The previous extension project, Cut 8, cost about $3-billion and reached gem-bearing ore of an estimated 100 million carats in 2016, seven years after work started. This orebody will be mined on until 2024, when output is expected to start from Cut 9. According to Debswana spokesperson Matshidiso Kamona, the project will be internally financed, although she did not provide further information on exact costs or scheduling. According to reports, the government of Botswana will include financing of the Cut 9 project in its negotiations with De Beers for the renewal of the 10-year sales agreement covering production from the Debswana mines. De Beers largely funded the previous expansion plan, the Cut 8 project. The company has received provisional approval from the Department of Environmental Affairs, pending public review of its environmental-management plan. Feasibility studies for the project are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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