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Botswana Diamonds achieves several positive developments in 2023

An image of Botswana Diamonds' Ghaghoo mine.

There is interest from a new investor in potentially acquiring the Ghaghoo mine.

25th March 2024

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online

     

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Diamond miner Botswana Diamonds chairperson John Teeling has outlined some positive developments achieved by the company during 2023, including that a gravity survey has discovered a high-grade anomaly similar in size or larger than the KX36 high-grade kimberlite pipe in the Kalahari.

In an unaudited interim statement and financial results for the six months ended December 31, 2023, he also highlights positive progress on the awarding of the Thorny River mining permits, in South Africa, as well as renewed interest in the Ghaghoo diamond mine, in Botswana.

Moreover, a prospecting licence was granted over diamond properties in Eswatini after a long application period.

“While the diamond market was depressed throughout 2023, it is important to recognise that it is the long-term trend which is important for the diamond industry, and particularly for explorers.

“Meanwhile, 2024 has started in more positive fashion with diamond sales taking place and a semblance of stability after a difficult last year,” Teeling points out.

The company believes that the long-term outlook for mined diamonds remains strong.

Teeling avers that lab-grown diamonds will take a share of the overall growing market, but that there are strong indications that the rarity of natural mined diamonds will persist.

SOUTH AFRICA

The company’s Africa diamond producing area in South Africa, Marsfontein, was placed on care and maintenance at the end of 2023 as a result of rising fuel prices and falling diamond prices.

“It is important to remember the purpose of mining the Marsfontein dumps and dykes is to provide information and experience prior to mining the adjacent Thorny River dyke deposits,” Teeling points out.

The operations at Marsfontein and Thorny River are contracted out on a royalty basis, therefore, there are no costs to the company.

Botswana Diamonds applied for the necessary mining permits on Thorny River in 2022.

Teeling informs that “slow but good progress” has been made, with the outstanding hurdle being community support which is at an advanced stage of completion.

Samples have been taken and submitted for analysis on the Reivilo group of pipes, where Botswana Diamonds holds 100% of the ground. Previous work on the pipes showed they were diamondiferous.

BOTSWANA

The Kalahari is likely to become the third main diamond-producing area in Botswana, and this is the area where Botswana Diamonds is focused, Teeling points out.

Earlier this year, a gravity survey on a licence adjacent to the company’s KX36 diamond discovery found a high-grade anomaly.

Current indicators are that the anomaly is as big or bigger than KX36. Further work needs to be done on this anomaly. An environmental-impact study is under way. Follow-up drilling is highlighted as likely.

Teeling explains that kimberlites are found in clusters and that the discovery of the new anomaly strongly indicates that more will be discovered in the surrounding area.

Botswana Diamonds has applied for further ground in the area and is hopeful for expeditious awarding of the licences.

The KX36 project is a 3.5 ha kimberlite pipe in the Kalahari. The pipe has resources of 17.9-million tonnes at 35 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht) (indicated) and 6.7-million tonnes at 36 cpht (inferred) at $65/ct.

The modelled grade range is 57 cpht to 76 cpht at an estimated diamond value of up to $107/ct.

Teeling says there is also interest from a new investor in potentially acquiring the Ghaghoo mine.

Ghaghoo, which is currently on care and maintenance, together with KX36 and the new anomaly, if diamondiferous, and the Maibwe licences in which the company is a joint venture partner, could provide the core for a new diamond-producing area in Botswana, he acclaims.

The company is also examining a proposal to use data analytics and artificial intelligence techniques to evaluate its extensive diamond database and is confident this approach will identify new targets, Teeling highlights.

Botswana Diamonds has also been awarded a prospecting licence in Eswatini where, with its local partners, it is currently undertaking a desktop study with a view to starting operations.

The company is also of the view that Zimbabwe remains highly prospective and thus continues to engage with various partners to gain a reasonable entry into the country.

Looking ahead, Teeling says the company is well positioned for an upturn in the market when it materialises. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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