The Debswana Diamond Company (Debswana), a 50/50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Group, announced yesterday that it will invest approximately US$ 2 billion in the Cut-9 project to extend the life of Jwaneng Mine to 2035.
The new project at what is one of the world’s most valuable diamond mines is expected to yield an estimated 53 million carats of rough diamonds from 44 million tonnes of treated material, the Company stated.
Work on this next phase of the mine will commence immediately as the shareholders of Debswana have approved the budget for 2019.
The decision underpins the partnership’s commitment to the future of Botswana’s diamond industry, Debswana said, adding that at its peak, Cut-9 is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs, the majority of which will be held by Batswana citizens.
A local contract has also been awarded by Debswana to Majwe Mining, a joint venture between Bothakga Burrow Botswana and Thiess Botswana, to provide diamond mining services. The value of the contract is US$ 1.2 billion (AUD$ 1.7 billion, the equivalent of approximately 15.7 billion Pula).
Debswana is a significant contributor to Botswana’s economy with more than 80 per cent of its profits being returned to the people of Botswana. The Jwaneng Mine contributes approximately 70 per cent of Debswana’s total revenue. Diamonds from Debswana, in turn contribute approximately 50 per cent of public revenue, 33 per cent of GDP, and over 80 per cent of foreign earnings to Botswana.
Bruce Cleaver, Chairman of Debswana, said: “The extension of Jwaneng Mine secures Botswana’s rightful place as a leading diamond producing nation for years to come. With global consumer demand for diamonds reaching record levels in 2018, the extension will enable us to continue to meet the needs of our consumers all over the world. We are deeply proud of the central role Jwaneng Mine has played in Botswana’s remarkable development story and of the role this investment will play in its future.”
Debswana Managing Director, Albert Milton said: “As we have throughout the history of Jwaneng Mine we remain steadfast in ensuring that all projects are delivered safely and to the benefit of the people of Botswana. We are also committed to delivering on the citizen economic empowerment (CEEP) goals and will focus on training our people, developing their skills and harnessing technology to create further safety and efficiency improvements.”
The empowerment programme includes the establishment of an Apprentice and Artisan Training Centre; a Component Rebuild Centre, which is expected to mature into a self-sustaining business within three years from the launch of the project and other additional local business development initiatives.