The Letlhakane Mine tailings project is currently at the final commissioning stage, diamond mining giant, Debswana Mining Company has said.
The joint venture company said this week that the soon diamonds recovery process at the mine through Tailings Resource Treatment Project (LMTRTP) will kick start soon after the final commissioning stage.
Corporate Affairs Manager at Debswana, Matshidiso Kamona said that the objective is to deliver sustained and profitable operations at Letlhakane Mine post open pit mining.
She also stated that tailings processing plants offer great flexibility options at reduced processing costs through employing improved technology to recover previously unrecovered diamonds in stockpiled tailings.
Kamona says the new plant is expected to produce around 800 000 carats per annum for the next 20 years. The stockpiled tailings contain very small diamonds that were not recoverable through the conventional treatment plants that were constructed on inception of the mine.
The total project book value is P2.1 billion. According to Kamona, the on commission project present an attractive operational option for Debswana after open pit mining, given its low production costs and high returns, as well as its ability to be run in a more flexible manner.
“Within Debswana, the modular tailings treatment projects are deemed as strategic business initiatives. The concept has since been introduced at two of our operations,” said Kamona.
A similar and inaugural project was rolled out at Jwaneng Mine in 2013, named Jwaneng Modular Plant, ultimately leading to the current roll out of the project at Letlhakane Mine in 2015.
The technology has also been used in the De Beers group of companies at Kimberley Mine in South Africa.
Debswana says it continues to produce to demand by maximising production at its core assets and scaling down on its lower margin assets. Its Managing Director, Balisi Bonyongo noted earlier this year that midstream stocks returned to more typical levels in 2016 while rough diamond demand is expected to normalise in 2017.
Damtshaa Mine, Debswana’s youngest diamond mine, which opened in 2003 and was put on care and maintenance beginning January 2016 because of deterioration in the global diamond market is also expected to reopen in early 2018.