LETLHAKANE – The Debswana Mining Company’s Letlhakane Mine tailings project which has gone through the final commissioning stage is expected to be handed over before the end of this year.
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 company’s Senior Project Manager, Letlhakane Mine Tailings Resources Treatment Project, Omphile Ntabeni told journalists during a site visit recently that the project is currently at an advanced stage.
The new plant is expected to produce around 800 000 carats per annum for the next 20 years. Debswana intends to build a specifically designed mining and treatment solution that ensures optimal economic recovery of diamonds.
“In terms of technology, we opted for tried and tested technology to reduce the risk. We are using high pressure roll crushers conventional for crushing smaller stones. It is used in Orapa No 2 plant as well,” Ntabeni said.
The same technology is said to be used at three mines in South Africa being Voorspoed, Kimberley and Jagersontein respectively. Debswana’s Jwaneng Mine adopted the same technology in 2014 for the same purpose of recovering diamonds from old tailings resource. It is understood that the previously used technology could not recover all the diamond deposits found in the tailings resource.
On outsourcing and employment card, Debswana says over 30 contractors have been engaged in the project out of which 26 are citizen owned and Botswana based. At peak the project complement was standing at 916 employees of which 834 were citizens.
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.