Firestone Diamonds is in a buoyant mood as it will be able to have its diamonds from BK 11 by the end of the year, ahead of Debswana tailing grounds which are expected to bolster is cash standing going forward, Tim Wilkes said.
Wilkes told the annual Botswana Resource Sector Conference that his company is headed for full production by the end of the last quarter of this year, with an annual target of 1.5 million tons of ore per annum.
BK 11 is near Orapa mineÔÇöjust within the vicinity of African Diamonds’ AK 6ÔÇöin an area that has won the label of being the best diamond address in the world.
There are already three existing diamond mines in the areaÔÇöall owned and run by Debswana. The mines are; Damtshaa, Letlhakane and Orapa while African Diamonds is working on plans to open its AK 6 mine within the same area by the end of next year.
Firestone Diamonds, which is about to complete its plant at the planned mine will produce 115, 000 carats of diamonds at full production valued at an average of US $ 175 per carat.
The mining outfit, which has also made its name in the tailing and diamond recovery process by treating the dumps, said it will use BK 11 as its flagship project in the Boteti area. The company has been named as the preferred bidder for the treatment of the Jwaneng tailings expected to contribute US $ 150 million cash to its coffers on annual basis.
The company has five other independent sites that are being pursued within the area and ore from these operations will be trucked to BK 11 where it will be treated.
Firestone Diamonds has specific emphasis on Botswana and to a certain extent South Africa. It is the fourth major company to announce plans to list on BSE since the beginning of the year, giving indications that the local economy might be emerging out of the worst economic downturn since World War II.
Wilderness Safaris and Cresta Marakanelo have listed, and Absa Capital is expected to follow with the trail-blazing Exchange Traded Fund product in the coming weeks.
The company is currently eyeing to start production at BK 11ÔÇösome 20 kilometers south-east of Orapa mine and five kilometers north east of African Diamonds’ AK 6 proposed mineÔÇö during the second quarter of 2010.
The move is expected to coincide with its listing which will also bolster the presence of the company in the local scene. Firestone Diamonds Plc is also involved in diamond exploration near Jwaneng mine and Tsabong areas where its finds have been described as “encouraging.”
“Firestone has made a substantial investment in its Botswana operations, which are now the primary focus for the Company. With BK11 is due to commence production shortly, and more than 100 kimberlites in our license areas in the Orapa, Jwaneng and Tsabong regions, we believe that we have a successful future ahead of us in Botswana and look forward to growing our shareholder base in Botswana,” Chief Executive Officer of Firestone Diamonds Plc, Philip Kenny has said.