De Beers-Botswana JV seeks to extend world’s most valuable diamond mine

Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Mining is seeking permission to extend the lifespan of its Jwaneng mine and increase its production by 50 million carats.

The joint venture (JV) between De Beers and the Southern African country’s government wants to deepen the pit to 830 metres which will extend the life of mine (LOM) by a further 11 years to 2035.

Jwaneng is the world’s most valuable diamond mine and is currently in the final stages of Cut 8 – a US$4 billion expansion plan that begin in 2010.

The current expansion will be closely followed by Cut 9, which involves removing waste from the bottom of the mine, while both widening and deepening the pit. Debswana wishes to complete feasibility studies for Cut 9 by the end of this year.

Botswana intends to bundle the financing for the latest Jwaneng expansion plans into its negotiations with De Beers concerning the renewal of a 10-year sales deal covering output from Debswana’s mines.

The mine has been in operation since 1982 and still holds almost 175 million carats and another 24.3 million carats in tailings dumps.