Firestone Diamonds, the AIM listed junior mining company, joins an elite band of diamond producers this week, when it hosts the first independent international diamond tender at its recently commissioned “state of the art” sorting and tender facility situated at the Diamond Technology Park (DTP) in Gaborone, Botswana.
Firestone plans to sell approximately 2,500 carats recovered from the BK11 Mine in the Orapa area of Botswana, which is operated by the company’s 90 percent owned subsidiary, Monak Venture (Pty) Limited, and a further 12,000 carats from the Liqhobong Mine in Lesotho, which is operated by the company’s 75 percent owned subsidiary, Liqhobong Mining Development Co. (Pty) Ltd.
At the tender, which started on Monday 29th November and will close on Thursday 9th December 2010, the company has had tremendous interest shown from the international and local diamond buying community, with over 50 companies applying for an appointment to view the diamonds. However, the company currently has a capacity to host only 40 of these companies in the time allowed and the demand for appointments has been remarkable. Going forward in 2011, the company has plans to expand its tender facility to accommodate more buyers.┬á
The inaugural diamond tender marks the first opportunity for local and international buyers to obtain diamond parcels made up entirely of goods sourced from a Botswana mine.
Over the course of the sale period, diamantaire will visit Firestone Diamonds’ tender facility at the DTP to view goods on offer to ensure they meet their requirements and then prepare their offers. The value of the goods on offer will only be known at the end of the tendering process.
Whilst the first tender is relatively small, Firestone is aiming to sell 40,000ÔÇô 50,000 carats per┬átender from BK11 and Liqhobong once both mines are in full production, which approximates to about $5M per tender and $50M per annum. The company is pleased to announce plans to hold 10 tenders per annum from 2011 as production from both mines ramps up significantly.
Firestone Diamonds is committed to supporting the government of Botswana in establishing Gaborone as one of the leading diamond buying centres of the world, and sees the current tender as a stepping stone to achieving this joint objective with the government.
Firestone Diamonds would also like to thank the Ministry of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources (MMEWR) for the tremendous support and interest shown in achieving this historic milestone.
Philip Kenny, CEO of Firestone Diamonds, commented: “This tender is a significant milestone both for Firestone Diamonds and for Botswana, and we look forward to working with government to help establish Botswana as one of the world’s leading rough diamond trading centres.”
In commenting about this historic event, Jacob Thamage (Diamond Hub Coordinator) said: “I am excited by Firestone`s inaugural tender which signifies the realisation of yet another milestone in Botswana`s vision of enhancing the economic value of the country`s diamond industry.”
Johan Erikson, an independent diamantaire coordinating the tendering process on behalf of Firestone Diamonds, had this to say about the tender:┬á “I want to personally congratulate the Government of Botswana on their insight and vision to truly make Botswana the Diamond hub of the world. We would also like to thank the Government for letting us be part of the making of history in Botswana.”