Botswana is a significant player in the world diamond production, mainly due to the contribution of Jwaneng mine, President Ian Khama remarked at the 30th commemoration of Jwaneng mine on Friday.
Khama said the high value gems from Jwaneng mine are the reason Botswana is today categorized as a middle income country.
“Jwaneng mine is also the home to the Aquarium, the only facility of its kind in the world. The Aquarium is a unique packaging of matured technologies to achieve automation of diamond sorting,” he said.
Although the cut 8 project will deliver 100 million carats over a seven-year period to 2024,this is being done at a huge cost “as you have to remove 10 times more waste than is the case today”, the President said.
“Notwithstanding the cost of 24 billion, cut 8 and other developments at Orapa portent well for us as a nation as they guarantee us continued revenues with which to continue our ‘diamonds for development’ journey,” he added.
Executive Director for Strategy and Corporate Affairs for the De Beers Group, Bruce Cleaver, said cut 8, the largest single investment in the history of Debswana and the Botswana mining industry, will secure approximately 102 million more carats and extend the life of the mine to 2025 turning it into one of the world’s few super pits.
As Jwaneng mine celebrates 30 years of operation, Debswana revealed that the future of Jwaneng mine hinges on projects such as cut 8, Jwaneng Extension Resource Project (JREP) as well as the possibility of cut 9.
Jwaneng mine, which was officially opened by former President of Botswana Sir Ketumile Masire on the 14th August 1982, is today ranked the richest diamond mine in the World by value.
In its 30 years of operation, the mine has produced more than 10 million carats every year. The mine is reportedly mining at a depth of about 350 metres, with the pit increasing significantly because of Cut 8.
Cleaver said by December 2013, De Beers’ 76 sightholders will begin travelling to Gaborone regularly to purchase De Beers’ global diamond production and transform Botswana into one of the world’s leading diamond hubs.
“While our partnership has been recognised around the world as a model for what a public/private partnership can be, for De Beers, the compelling story of our partnership comes not from what we have already done together, but what we will do together for years to come,” Cleaver added.
Meanwhile, current General Manager of Morupule Colliery, Albert Milton, will take over the role of general manager of Jwaneng mine from the current GM Balise Bonyongo, who has been appointed chief operating officer at the Debswana corporate centre Bonyongo is a past beneficiary of the Debswana scholarship scheme.