The Board of Debswana, the 50:50 joint venture between De Beers Group and the Botswana Government, has greenlit a pivotal investment of approximately $1 billion (BWP 13.6 Billion) for the Jwaneng underground project.
This landmark decision marks a critical phase for the world's most valuable diamond mine, transitioning it from open-pit to underground operations.
Strategic Investment Details
The significant investment, named the Exploration Access Development Phase, will kick off in May 2024, focusing on establishing a drilling platform for comprehensive sampling of kimberlite pipes.
Additionally, it involves creating an early access decline for the underground mine and developing essential infrastructure for future project stages. The move comes after the successful completion of feasibility studies.
Securing Long-Term Diamond Supply
De Beers Group CEO and Debswana Deputy Board Chairman, Al Cook, emphasized the strategic importance of the Jwaneng mine, hailing it as a cornerstone of Botswana's economy and De Beers Group's business.
The decision aligns with a broader strategy to prioritize investments in high-quality projects. Given the global decline in natural diamond supply, the move toward the Jwaneng Underground Project is positioned to add value for investors, introduce new technology, nurture workforce skills, and supply gems globally.
Mine's Legacy and Contributions
Since its inception in 1982, the Jwaneng Mine has consistently produced nearly 11 million carats annually. Presently, the mine sustains a workforce of 2100 permanent employees and engages 3200 contractors.
The transition to the Jwaneng underground project, subject to future Debswana Board approvals, not only secures the mine's long-term future but also promises job creation in Botswana. This development underscores Debswana's ongoing and substantial contribution to the nation's economy.
The approval of this substantial investment marks a pivotal moment in the trajectory of the Jwaneng mine, positioning it strategically in a diamond market marked by tightening long-term supply and increasing demand.