Debswana Diamonds-Majwe Mining Joint Venture contract extended
First diamonds from the contract project to be delivered early next year
Debswana Diamond Company and Majwe Mining Joint Venture have signed a two-year contract extension for a multi-billion-pula project which is intended to allow expansion of Jwaneng Diamond Mine, the Mineral Resources ministry confirmed last week.
The contract which is expected to cover 2017 and 2018 follows the expiry of a 5-year contract signed in 2011. The old contract effectively elapses on 31st December 2016.
Majwe Mining won the P3.7 billion tender to remove waste at Debswana Jwaneng Diamond Mine in order to allow miners to reach more diamonds. The mine is reportedly mining to a depth of 400 meters and is expected to reach 624 meters by next year.
Parliament has been told that, so far P7 billion has been spent on the Cut 8 expansion which was initially planned for completion by end of 2016. Figures from the Ministry show that since January 2015, 246 jobs at Majwe were cut due the low mining rates. As a result of the reduced mining rates completion date for the project has been extended to the end of 2018 and the first ore from Cut 8 is scheduled to be delivered early 2017, according to Minister Sadique Kebonang.
It has emerged that government is also investigating options to extend the life of the open pit mine beyond Cut 8, to allow Cut 9 and possibly Cut 10 which are expected to allow the removal of waste, paving way for underground mining. This is expected to ensure long term sustainability up to 2050 and beyond.
Kebonang, meanwhile stated that he cannot give the scope and costs of the envisaged Cut 9, as the project is at the pre-feasibility stage of investigation. “Once the feasibility has been completed, it would be possible to determine commencement, end dates and cost of the project.” He added that government could not yet state the number of companies expected to be involved in the project nor the number of jobs: “It is only at execution stage that procurement process will follow, which is normally a public tendering process. This will be established once the project feasibility study has been completed.”
The current Cut 8 expansion project is expected to cost around P24 billion.