The board of Debswana, the joint venture between De Beers Group and the government of Botswana, has approved investment for a key development phase of the Jwaneng underground project, paving the way for the world’s most valuable diamond mine to transition from open pit to underground operations.
The US$1 billion (BWP 13.6 billion) investment in the Exploration Access Development Phase is for establishing a drilling platform to facilitate comprehensive sampling of the kimberlite pipes, delivering the early access decline for the underground mine and developing essential infrastructure to support forthcoming stages of the project.
The initial works, to start in May 2024, follow the successful completion of feasibility studies. Following the Exploration Access Development stage, the project will be developed in two further phases, Phase 1 mining and Phase 2 mining, to support long-term future production at the mine in an environment of tightening long-term diamond supply.
“The global supply of natural diamonds is falling, so moving forward with the Jwaneng Underground Project creates new value for investors, brings new technology to the country, creates new skills for our workforce and provides new gems for customers around the world,” De Beers Group CEO and Debswana Deputy Board Chairman Al Cook said.
“This investment is aligned with our strategy to prioritise investments in the highest quality projects. We are proud to work in partnership with the Botswana Government in creating a bright future for Debswana.”
Jwaneng has produced an annual average of almost 11 million carats per year since it began operations in 1982.
Source: De Beers Group