De Beers hits first new diamonds

Johannesburg – De Beers’s project to expand the world’s most valuable diamond mine has encountered its first gem-bearing ore, seven years after it started.

The 24 billion-pula ($2.2 billion) plan to enlarge the Jwaneng operation in Botswana will eventually access an estimated 110 million carats through an area known as Cut 8, GM Albert Milton said in an interview at the mine, 120 kilometres (75 miles) west of the capital, Gaborone.

Debswana Diamond, a joint venture between the Anglo American unit and the nation’s government, started the extension at Jwaneng in 2010, the largest single investment in the southern African country. Cut 8 will become the mine’s main source of the gems in 2018, Anglo said in July last year. Miners have moved about 344 million metric tons of the 500 million tons of rock and soil needed to access the diamond-bearing ore known as kimberlite and have already found some, Milton said.