Gem Diamond Botswana, a company listed on the Main Board of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) recently announced its acquisition of Gope Exploration Company (Pty) Ltd for US $34 million.
According to a release, Gope is a company originally set up as a joint venture by De Beers Prospecting (Pty) Ltd and Falconbridge Exploration Botswana (Pty) Ltd, to explore a known kimberlite deposition in the Gope region of central Botswana. This is Gem Diamonds’ first investment in Botswana, says the release. It is highlighted in the release that the kimberlite deposited at Gope represents a significant ore body. With the resource at an indicated level, it is stated that Gem Diamonds’ management believes the resource related risk to be low.
Gem Diamonds has begun a consultation process with all relevant stakeholders on how to sustainably develop Gope.
“This is guided by the policies in place governing Gem Diamonds relationships with communities at its operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Angola and Lesotho,” said the release. As part of this, the release added that Gem Diamonds is committed to engaging with the representatives of Basarwa and initial discussions with relevant NGOs have already been held. Additionally, it has stated that Gem Diamonds has engaged independent advisor Marsh Vikela to update an Environmental Impact Assessment previously completed for Gope so as to ensure that environmental best practice is followed.
Gem Diamonds has appointed a Motswana mining engineer, Haile Mphusu, as its first Managing Director. Mphusu, who has more than twenty-four years experience in the mining industry spanning diamonds, coal and platinum, was previously Mine Manager at Morupule Collery and Damtshaa Diamond Mine as well as Assistant General Manager at Jwaneng Diamond Mine. He then moved on to be Director of De Beers Marine and held the position of Group Portfolio development manager for De Beers for some time.
“Gem Diamonds is extremely pleased to have been able to make its first investment into Botswana, a country in which many opportunities exist.
Personally, I’m proud to be appointed MD of Gope,” said Mphusu. He emphasized that he is looking forward to working with the Government and the people of Botswana toward achieving the goals for the sustainable development of the Gope deposit.
According to the release, work will shortly begin on the updating of the existing feasibility study on Gope completed by De Beers in 1998. This updated feasibility study will include a revised environmental impact assessment and environmental management plan, it says. Should the findings of this updated feasibility study prove positive, the release stressed that an application to the government of Botswana for a Mining License will be made. Thereafter, negotiations will be entered into with the government of Botswana as to the State and or citizen participation in the mine.