Botswana Diamond’s Interim Statement and Financial Results for the six months ended December 31, 2018, shows that the Company is gearing up to commence production at the Thorny River project in South Africa by mid-2019.
“The development of the Thorny River diamond dyke project is underway,” the Company said. “A mining contractor has been appointed. Agreement to process the kimberlites at a nearby processing plant is finalised. Refurbishment of the plant is ongoing, with wet testing expected to commence within weeks.”
While delineation drilling has been completed and assuming final permits are obtained, the Company expects bulk sampling to commence in May 2019, ramping up to 20,000 tons a month.
Further, the Company reported that following “the re-discovery” of eight kimberlite pipes in the Free State of South Africa — close to the iconic Koffiefontein and Jagersfontein diamond mines — “whole rock geochemistry, mineral chemistry and detailed ground geophysics work was completed”. A phased drilling programme has been proposed and is in a planning phase.
Meanwhile, Botswana Diamonds also reported that a study of the Heritage Concession in the Marange Diamond Fields in Zimbabwe has yielded “positive results”.
For this area, Botswana Diamonds is in a joint venture agreement with Vast Resources plc (Vast) to develop Heritage.
“The next step will be to investigate the potential of the modern alluvial diamond deposits, as well as the older conglomerates on the property,” Botswana Diamonds elaborated. “Assuming positive results, the field work will be closely followed by drilling, pitting and bulk sampling, which will form part of a pre-feasibility study, which may justify capital beyond the initial US$ 1 million committed to the programme by Vast Resources.”
The Company has also completed a report on the Maibwe prospect in the Gope region of the Kalahari region in Botswana, which was prepared for the liquidator of BCL, the 51% owner of the licences. “Botswana Diamonds holds a net 15% interest in the company,” the Company announced. “It is expected that the liquidator will offer the BCL stake for sale.”
In Botswana too, the heavy mineral sampling of the eight previously discovered and announced geophysical anomalies in the Gope Region of the Kalahari Desert was completed.
“A total of 267 kimberlitic indicator minerals were discovered, which included 41 garnets, 13 chromites, 139 ilmenites, 4 chrome diopsides and 70 olivines,” the Company reported. “A grain analysis by Remote Exploration Services of Cape Town concluded that the sources were likely to be local due to the abundance, size and fresh surface textures of the indicator minerals.”
Botswana Diamonds is now 100% owner of Sunland Minerals – the company developing its projects in the Orapa region of Botswana – after it acquired the 50% stake previously held by its former joint venture partner Alrosa. “A potential new investor, itself a large diamond producer with new ideas and keen to find new kimberlites in Botswana, is interested in acquiring 50% of Sunland,” the Company revealed.