De Beers and Botswana government plans expansion of the world’s most valuable diamond mine

Debswana, the Joint Venture between De Beers and the Botswana government, plans to expand its Jaweng mine to 2700 feet in order to extend its lifespan by 11 years as is looks to extract an additional 50 million carat.

According to a regulatory environmental impact assessment notice, the company said that the approval of this project known as Cut 9 by Botswana environmental authorities will deepen the mine to 855 meters from 650 meters.

This project follows a $3billion expansion project of the mine in 2010 known as cut 8 to uncover 100 million carats of diamonds and extend the life of the mine to 2024.

On March 27th, Debswana’s managing director, Balisi Bonyongo, told Reuters that before the end of the year, feasibility studies for Cut 9 will be completed in order to know the total amount of funds required for the project.

Last year the former Minerals Minister, Sadique Kebonang noted, that government intended to include the financing of Cut 9 into its ongoing negotiations with De Beers for the renewal of the 10-year sales agreement covering output from the Debswana mines. This existing sales and marketing agreement ends in September 2020.

What you should know about the Jwaneng

Jwaneng started full operations in 1982 and was officially opened by the then President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire. It is the world’s largest diamond producer by value and it contributes 60 to 70 percent of Debswana’s total revenue. Jwaneng Mine is the flagship of Debswana due to the substantially higher dollar per carat obtained for its gems.

Jwaneng mine is owned by Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Group of Companies incorporated on 23rd June 1969 under the original name of De Beers Botswana Mining Company (Proprietary) Limited.  The company’s primary objective is diamond mining and associated processes.