Lerala Diamond Mine, owned and liquidated by Australia’s Kimberley Diamond, has finally been sold via an online auction for $8.1 million. This comes after Kimberley failed to secure a viable offer for the mine.
“The highest bid was $8.12 million and it was accepted. We now have to wait to process the transaction and confirm the final sale when the money has been paid,” the provisional liquidator of the mine, Kopanong Thekiso, without identifying the buyer told Reuters.
Lerala creditors are owed 300 million pula ($30 million) and include shareholder companies, mining contractors and workers, Thekiso said further.
The auction included mining and water rights, five Kimberlite pipes ranging from 0.16 hectares to 2.35 hectares in area, a 200 metric tonnes per hour processing plant and a 4.2-megawatt diesel generator, among other assets.
It would be recalled that a month ago the auctioneers, GoIndustry DoveBid, published in the weekly Monitor newspaper that the online bids for the Diamond mine located in central Botswana will open on May 24th at 5:00 pm and run through May 30th at 2:00 pm.
What you didn’t know about Lerala mine
Kimberley announced its first sale from the mine in 2016 and a year later it was placed under judicial management due to weak sales and high operating costs and the mine was shut down without paying workers. The most recent closure of Lerala mine was the third time that the mine has been shut down in its history after closing shop in February 2009 and July 2012.
Bloomberg reported that in the year leading up to its closure, Lerala produced about 59,000 carats compared with a published target of 357,000 carats a year, over a seven-year lifespan. On offer are five kimberlite pipes ranging from 0.16 hectare to 2.35 hectares in area, mining rights, a 200 metric tons per hour processing plant, a 4.2-megawatt diesel generator and other assets. Bidders are required to place a refundable deposit of 5 million pula ($509,000).
The mine has probable reserves of 5 million tons at a grade of 31 carats per 100 tons and inferred resources of 10.3 million tons at 31 carats per 100 tons.
If the mine is in full production, the mine would treat 1.4-million tonnes of ore a year, producing an average of 357,000 carats per year.
Botswana, the world’s largest diamond producer by value, has four privately-owned diamond mines outside of the Debswana joint venture with the government, but only one, Karowe, is currently operational.