African Diamonds Plc, the mid-tier diamond miner said it is embarking on mining construction at AK6 that will pave ÔÇôthe-way for the much awaited love related smiles as it bring shinny parcels to the fingers mistresses and wives alike.
The company executives told a two-day Botswana Resources Sector conference in Gaborone that the mine is scheduled for commissioning in the last quarter of next yearÔÇöafter 18 months of construction, which starts this July.
“Mine construction is starting in July and we expect that it will gather momentum around August or September this year, with commissioning in the fourth quarter of 2011,” Managing Director and Deputy Chairman of African Diamonds, James Campbell told Sunday Standard on the sides of the conference.
African Diamonds, which has gone into a joint venture with Lucara Diamonds, is working on plans of exploiting some of the country’s richest diamond finds.
The proposed mine is 15 kilometers from Letlhakane mineÔÇöa village surrounded by three mines so far, all owned by Debswana. The three mines are Orapa, Damtshaa and Letlhakane.
The area has been termed as the best diamond address in the world, with the street name being Orapa. It is within the area of the world’s biggest diamond mine.
Orapa mine produces about 17 million carats per annum and there are a number of exploration activities around the area by notable companies including African Diamonds and Firestone Diamonds.
Campbell said AK6 mine is expected to yield 700,000 carats per annum at full production at an estimated value of US $ 243 per carat.
The project is expected to yield about US $ 17.20 per ton treated which is well above the conventional US $ 8 per ton.
The produce will initially be sold locally through a tender process through government’s proposed diamond trading floor.
The proposed trading floor is still subject of a study done by a Belgium based company called Gemdax– which is due to present its initial report by end of this month.
“An agreement has been reached with the Government of Republic of Botswana which allows Boteti to sell the entire production of diamonds through an open tender process and /or negotiated exclusivity contracts, subject to valuation by Government Diamond Valuer. A number of proposals from diamantaires have already been received and these are currently being evaluated,” the company said.
“We are currently working on project finance which we hope to finalise in the next three months,” Campbell said.
The first phase of the project requires capital investment to the tune of US $ 120 million to cover the construction of the processing plant including the 13 percent contingency.
Meanwhile, Ribson Gabonowe has been appointed the Chief Executive Officer of BotetiÔÇöa joint venture working on AK 6ÔÇöwhile Gerry Ndlovu from BCL will be the General Manager reporting directly to Gabonowe.