With a possession of three small licenses in the Gope region, Botswana Diamonds (BOD) recently confirmed the results of its exploration, announcing that a large diameter drilling (LDD) will soon follow on its prospecting license (PL) 186 which is part of the Maibwe (Brightstone) block of licences in that region. The Gope region currently has one producing diamond mine, Ghaghoo mine which is owned by Gem Diamonds.
BOD has an existing joint venture with Alrosa, the Russian diamond producer, which it entered into in 2013 to explore diamonds in Botswana. However for this LDD programme BOD mentioned in its communiqu├® that it is completely separate from its joint venture with Alrosa. In a previous communication BOD had said that the analyses which have been conducted by its geologists indicate anomalies on each license it possesses. It was therefore to be expected that drilling will happen given the indication of anomalies. John Teeling, Chairman of BOD, is quoted saying “We now know there are diamonds on PL 186. The upcoming drilling is to establish the grade and quality.” BOD announced that it owns 15 percent of Maibwe Diamonds and that it has a free carried interest in the project up to Bankable Feasibility Study. According to BOD the LDD programme falls under a joint venture it entered into with Brightstone Mining in 2013. Furthermore, it mentions that BCL took over the block in 2015 and created Maibwe Diamonds. BOD also mentioned that work on other licenses within the Maibwe block is planned as the area has been identified as highly prospective for diamond discoveries.
“Maibwe Diamonds is a privately-held company controlled by BCL (51%) a state-owned copper and nickel producer in Botswana. BCL is the operator. The planned LDD drilling for macro diamond evaluation, to be undertaken by Maibwe Diamonds, is to follow up on Diamond drilling conducted in 2015 on PL 186 which found a number of diamondiferous kimberlites. The LDD drilling is to confirm the 2015 results and gain a clearer understanding of the grade and size frequency distribution of diamonds,” reads the communiqu├®. The commencement of the LDD drilling programme could in time prove to be a gain for the state owned copper and nickel producer’s diversification business model given its prevailing lackluster state of operations.