The Debswana Mining Company is aiming to jerk-up its diamond production at Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines by 2011 through its trail-blazing technology dubbed No.3 Plant.
Head of Communications, Jacob Sesinyi, said the plant, which is to replace the ageing No.1 Plant built some 40 years ago, is expected to deliver better results.
?A secondary opportunity relating to the project involves the increase in revenue that a newer generation plant can deliver relative to process designed and built nearly 40 years ago,? he said.
?The project is currently at pre-feasibility stage. A full feasibility and design study is due to commence soon. We are working against a plan agreed by the shareholders to deliver the project by 2011.?
Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines?the Debswana mines in the north?are the biggest contributors to the country?s diamond production of 34 million carats per annum against the 15 million produced by the world?s gem-richest Jwaneng Mine in the South. The diamond industry is the back-bone of Botswana?s economy, contributing about one-third of the GDP and over 50 percent of government revenue.
The diamond industry started in this country in the late 1960s and has transformed it from a poor agrarian based economy to one of the most prosperous among the so-called developing countries around the world. Through diamond and prudent financial management, Botswana has the highest credit rating in Africa, enabling it to borrow money across the world.
?The new plan is likely to make a significant and better contribution than the one that has been replaced. This is mainly due to the modern liberation techniques and the application of Recrush technology,? Sesinyi said. ?A technically better plant means that even lower grade or hard ore can become economic. The new plant is being designed to facilitate not only the existing open pit operations, which run to approximately 2026, but also underground mining, which will deliver a different character of both ore and waste.?
Further, Sesinyi said that they have stopped burning mid-night oil regarding the Letlhakane Treatment Plant which has been completed. He said the aim right now is to try to determine the value of Letlhakane tailing which has been built for at least the last 30 years.
?We are also defining new ways of working that will result in more place accountability. This means decision making moves down to the appropriate levels in the company. This means less ?operating? by managers and more leadership guidance. It also means better decision making and accountability for all employees in the position they are appointed to. This capability and skill is crucial to our new operating model for Debswana and will be needed to improve the organizational capability to the delivery of our strategic vision,? he said.
Debswana is a 50/50 partnership between De Beers and the Botswana government.