Botswana will start to benefit from the Russian diamond mining technology following a deal struck between Alrosa and Botswana Diamonds.
Atlas Minerals (Pty) Ltd (Botswana), a wholly owned subsidiary of Botswana Diamonds, and Sunland Holdings SA (Switzerland), a wholly owned subsidiary of OJSC “Alrosa” of Russia, have signed an agreement to scour for diamonds in the country known as the best address for diamonds.
Botswana Diamonds Chairman, John Teeling, said the unique technologies being brought to bear on the Kgalagadi sands ‘improve the chances of success’.
“We are delighted with this agreement. This is good news for Botswana Diamonds – and for Botswana itself. We have already been working together for over 18 months on selecting the best ground in the Orapa and Gope areas of Botswana and we have multiple targets,” said Teeling.
Alrosa is the world’s largest rough diamond producer by volume with 17 producing mines and a highly successful exploration record. The unique exploration technology developed by Alrosa will be applied in Botswana for the first time.
“More diamond deposits remain to be discovered in Botswana,” Teeling said.
He added that the agreement requires equal contributions from each party and the joint venture will utilise and merge the exploration technology available to Sunland with the on ground expertise and extensive diamond database held by Botswana Diamonds.
Already, applications have been lodged for licences in the Orapa region. The first ground has been obtained and work is expected to commence in Q3 2013. The initial budget is $1 million.
“They (Alrosa) believe they have the right technology to find kimberlites,” Teeling told Botswana shareholders in June.
“The focus is on the JV and to get Alrosa in. They are a bigger company,” he added. The anticipated partnership with the Russian state-owned company will allow BOD to use technology ‘never used before in the region’.