Botswana Diamonds, the AIM/ BSE quoted exploration company remains bullish about kick starting its search for diamonds in Botswana despite posting a loss on its financial results for the year ended 30 June 2013.
The company under the chairmanship of John Teeling said the first ground phase of the joint venture with Alrosa will begin in early January 2014 when four Russian geologists will start fieldwork on PL117 in the Orapa area.┬á
The move follows a 498,166 pounds sterling (about P6.9 million) loss for the year before tax, which was up from 545,985 pounds on the corresponding period and an operating loss of 477, 908 pounds worse than 418,666 pounds on the prior year.
Teeling said a series of other targets are lined up to follow including areas where deep sand cover has meant that no kimberlites have ever been discovered.
“It has taken two years to negotiate the joint venture.┬á Most of the time was well spent with Botswana supplying mountains of data and Alrosa analysing it and identifying targets.┬á PL117 contains the top ranking targets,” the company said in a statement accompanying the results.┬á
Botswana Diamonds, a company that was formed in 2011 from the exploration assets of African Diamonds, is focused on Botswana; the country Teeling said is the best address for diamonds.┬á The company holds “very good” prospective ground and in July 2013 signed a joint venture with Alrosa of Russia to explore the Orapa area of Botswana.┬á
In addition to the Alrosa joint venture, it holds ground in the Gope region in a joint venture with a South African company while we have sole ownership of three licences 30 km east of the Letlhakane mine in Orapa.
Teeling said Alrosa believes that its exploration techniques can predict the location of diamondiferous kimberlites up to 100m below a cover of Kalahari sand and basalt.┬á
“The first test of this will be in Q1 and Q2 2014 when the joint venture will┬áexplore PL117, a 2.9 sq km licence in Orapa, very close to the new Karowe mine which is producing spectacular diamonds.”
Alros, which has previously worked in Siberia, with no access to Western technology, developed new techniques and adapted existing methods to handle the tundra which has an overburden up to 200m thick before they hit rock.┬á Over decades Alrosa has refined these techniques and has had remarkable success to the extent that they are now the number one diamond producer in the world by volume, with 17 producing mines.
“The directors of Alrosa believe that their techniques can work in Botswana, the home of diamonds and the world’s biggest producer by value,” explained Teeling.┬á
“Most of Botswana is covered by the Kalahari desert.┬á For 18 months Alrosa and Botswana Diamonds have gathered and analysed as much data as possible on Botswana geology in the Orapa region ÔÇô the logical place to start where four of the world’s great diamond mines exist.”
Twelve targets have come from this analysis.┬á We have applied for ground covering these targets.┬á The process is slow and opaque.┬á Some of the ground was already under licence so we have had to adapt.
According to Teeling, the top target identified by Alrosa was in an area covered by a small 2.9 sq km licence held by local interests.┬á
“We farmed into this licence.┬á This is ground we know well having held it earlier under the African Diamonds name.┬á In 2004 we discovered a five hectare kimberlites, AK10, containing diamonds.┬á We spent over $2,000,000 exploring it only to drop it in favour of the AK6 discovery 6 km to the South.”
AK6 is now the Karowe mine of Lucara.┬á A detailed work programme using four Russian geologists will commence in January 2014.┬á The objective is to refine drill targets.┬á This should be followed by a drilling programme in March/April 2014.┬á There are high expectations for this work but it is grassroots exploration.