Mining giant De Beers approves $1bn spending at Botswana mine
- De Beers commits $1 billion investment in Jwaneng mine extension in Botswana.
- Investment will convert Jwaneng pit into an underground operation.
- Decision aligns with Debswana's plan to extend mine's lifespan by 11 years from 2024.
The global diamond giant De Beers has confirmed its commitment to a planned $1 billion investment to extend the life of its flagship Jwaneng mine in Botswana despite a downturn in gem demand experienced last year.
De Beers, a unit of Anglo American, along with the Botswana government (joint owners of Debswana Diamond Company), have approved the investment. The funds will be utilized to convert the Jwaneng pit into an underground operation.
The decision to proceed with the investment aligns with Debswana's 2018 plan to extend the mine's lifespan by 11 years starting from 2024. De Beers emphasized that the spending is deemed necessary due to the expected long-term tightening of the supply of rough gems.
The demand for rough diamonds has experienced weakness in recent months, particularly with India, responsible for cutting and polishing around 90% of the world's rough diamonds, urging global miners to halt gemstone sales to manage accumulated stocks. Despite this challenging environment, Angola initiated mining operations at its new Luele project last year. Luele is considered the largest diamond project in the country and one of the world's largest based on estimated resources. In the case of De Beers, the company entered into a new diamond sales agreement last year. As part of this agreement, the government's share of diamonds from the Debswana joint venture is set to gradually increase to 50% over the next decade. These developments highlight the resilience and ongoing activity in the diamond mining sector, even amid fluctuations in global demand.