Diamond mining giant, Debswana, says that the recovery of a special diamond at its Jwaneng Mine, which was recently auctioned for a record US$26.7 million (P230 million) was not by mistake.
Responding to Sunday Standard queries, Debswana Senior Manager (Jwaneng Mine) ÔÇô Ore Processing, Sedireng Serumola, said it was not by accident that such a special gem was recovered at their mine.
“No, it was not a mistake. We have observed over the years that when we mine from certain areas of the pit, we do recover large diamonds even as big as 300 carats,” he said.
Serumola revealed that stones of this nature are considered special stones and, therefore, are packaged separately when being delivered to DTCB.
“At the time that a stone of such beauty is discovered, we would not know how much it would sell for but we would know that it is worth millions of Pula,” he said, adding that diamonds of this size, colour and other characteristics are worth millions of dollars, even in the rough.
Though the special diamond, called the Winston, was auctioned in Switzerland at an Auction House recently, Serumola revealed that it was recovered from Jwaneng Mine production covering the period 21st to 27th June 2007, originally weighing about 236 carats.
Serumola also revealed that Debswana has initiated a large diamond recovery project in Jwaneng Mine with the primary objective of building a plant to recover large diamonds of this size or even bigger.
“The project is still at conceptual stage. Process and Engineering designs are expected to be completed by end of 2013,” he said, pointing out that they recover large stones on a number of occasions.
He added that Jwaneng Mine has optimised recovery processes such that the Aquarium plant, made up of the Completely Automated Recovery Plant (CARP) and the Fully Integrated Sort House (FISH) runs at more than 99 percent ┬áprocess efficiency.
“The Aquarium is the iconic tall blue building that you see when entering Jwaneng; it is the recovery plant where final sorting takes place. The Aquarium is fully automated and is equipped with complex technology that was developed in-house by De Beers, and is the only one of its kind in the world,” said Serumola.
Asked what the recovery of such a diamond worth millions of Pula means to Debswana, Serumola said this was a good story for Jwaneng Mine and Debswana, and for the development of the country.
“The revenue generated from the sale of our diamonds will continue to drive the economy of this country. Jwaneng Mine contributes 60-70 percent of Debswana’s total earnings. It was a beautiful diamond, even as a rough stone, as it is just like a polished stone. Even to the men and women who sort Debswana production on a daily basis, they were impressed by its beauty,” he said.
Serumola pointed out that Jwaneng Mine is performing very well this year.
“Firstly, we have successfully carried out ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 surveillance audits in May. We have also achieved our 2013 half year target on carats and on track to deliver planned waste targets,” he said.
He added that their project, Cut 8, is also progressing very well and it is on track to deliver.
“We are pleased to inform you that the construction of the Modular Tailings Treatment Plant (MTTP) at Jwaneng Mine has started. This plant has capacity to treat 2.5 million tonnes per annum and is expected to produce a total of 18 million carats in 20 years,” he said.
The plant is expected to be commissioned in early 2014, ramping up to full production by mid-2014.