Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BoD wants BCL stake at Maibwe

Botswana Diamonds Plc on Thursday revealed it has made an offer for the liquidated BCL’s shares in Maibwe Diamonds, a joint venture project in which BOD has hailed as a potential diamond mining site with upside opportunities.

BCL mine group which was placed under liquidation in 2016 is disposing its 51 percent stake in the project. While the details of the proposed offer have not been made public, Botswana Diamonds has previously bid for BCL’s shares at P4 million, representing the amount BCL spent in the project. BCL did not accept the offer and instead they brought in a team of consultants to produce a prospectus to lure other investors to buy the shares. So far BCL has not been able to sell its stake.

“We have put in an offer to the liquidator of BCL and we hope to get a response in the next few months,” Botswana Diamonds managing director James Campbell told a mining conference held in Gaborone this week.

In 2013 Botswana Diamonds signed a joint venture with Brightstone Mining on the Gope block located in Kahalari. BCL subsequently took over the block in 2015 and created Maibwe Diamonds. The Maibwe project consists of a block of ten licenses, which are located in the Central Kalahari region of the country. The area is deemed highly prospective for diamond discoveries.  Four kimberlites containing diamonds were discovered in 2015 by BCL, the majority shareholder and operator.

Other partners include local Botswana group Future Minerals (20 percent ownership stake) and private South African venture Siseko (29 percent ownership stake), in which Botswana Diamonds has a 51 percent ownership stake. Therefore, Botswana Diamonds has a net 15 percent interest carry through its exploration work in the project.

Botswana Diamonds is one of the most prolific diamond exploration and project development companies that holds exploration licences in Botswana and South Africa. Recently the company’s chairman said there is huge potential at Maibwe project, a development that could see the company finally going into production and becoming a producer of gem diamonds.

John Teeling, Botswana Diamonds chairman, said of all their ongoing projects at various stages, Maibwe presents an upside opportunity after preliminary findings revealed kimberlites which are diamondiferous. Teeling was the founder of African Diamonds, which discovered the AK6 mine in Botswana, a venture that eventually became Lucara’s famous Karowe Mine. The Lucara Diamond Corp. takeover of African Diamonds in 2010 was worth approximately $90 million.

The veteran explorer says he would like to move beyond exploration and go in deep into production. “I would like to be in production. At this point, instead of being an explorer, I would like to be a producer. We would like to get to production. So, if we are able to, we think we will.”

By making a second bid for BCL’s stake in Maibwe, Botswana Diamonds is showing no intention of giving up on a potential honey pot, and if it secures BLC’s shares it will become the major shareholder, putting it firmly in control. Moreover, the exploration company is said to be looking at expanding its footprint in Southern Africa.

In May, Botswana Diamonds teamed up with Vast Resources, a mining and resource development firm, to explore for diamonds in Zimbabwe. This is in addition to other joint projects the company is focused on. In South Africa, Botswana Diamonds is working on two projects; a prospecting license for the Mooikloof asset, adjacent to the Oaks mine-which De Beers owned, and close to another De Beers mine ÔÇô Venetia.

The diamond exploring firm has also received its technical valuation of Thorny River project, also based in South Africa. The results show the deposit holds between 1.2 million and 2 million tons of kimberlite, estimated to be worth $120 and $220 per carat.

“Significant progress has been made on our joint-venture projects in South Africa,” Teeling said. “We are pleased to finally be awarded the Mooikloof concession. The pipe is historically estimated at 2.5 hectares in size, and contains diamonds.”

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.