As demand for diamonds is expected to continue growing, the challenge for Debswana Diamond Company remains how to continue satisfying that demand, especially because global production is expected to plateau and then decline beyond 2020.
Debswana Managing Director (MD), Balisi Bonyongo believes there is a mismatch between revenue generated and the rate of growth of costs. He added that Debswana continues to experience rising mining costs continue as its pits deepen, together with escalating production costs and plants that are getting older.
“Only the most agile will survive and agility, flexibility, productivity and efficiency are the only way mining companies can survive in this environment,” said Bonyongo.
Speaking at the recent resource sector conference, Bonyongo pointed out that global economic recovery has been sluggish since 2008 and it is unlikely that it’ll get back to pre-crisis growth rates in the near future. He further said supply-demand fundamentals look favourable in the long term.
“We support De Beers’ strategy to sustainably maximise the value of each carat mined and to unlock the value of its leadership position across the diamond pipeline,” said Bonyongo.
He stated that 2014, the first year under Horizon 1, was highly successful with Debswana making a step change in performance across all fronts of the business. Debswana’s pursuit of zero harm has continued to be strong, with safety performance now comparable to the best in the world. Bonyongo revealed that Debswana’s Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) of 0.46 is the lowest ever in the company’s history and is comparable with the best in the world. The company’s diamond production has remained flat at 22 ÔÇô 24 million carats, in line with market demand and Bonyongo pointed out that productivity and efficiencies have improved in line with the operational strategy. Over time, said Bonyongo, Debswana has built a business that is robust, agile and flexible.
“In the next five years Debswana envisages to undertake major diamond production projects at Jwaneng and Orapa to unlock the full potential under Horizon 2,” he said.
Studies for the extension and expansion of Jwaneng Mine beyond Cut 8 and Orapa Mine beyond Cut 2 have commenced. Bonyongo said tailings processing plants offer great flexibility options at reduced processing costs by employing improved technology to recover previously unrecovered diamonds in tailings resources.
“Our safety performance has continued to be exceptional and we take seriously our responsibility to manage and minimise the impact of our operations on the environment,” said Bonyongo.
Lastly, he said Botswana has been endowed with some of the best diamond assets in the world, adding that Debswana is privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility to mine some of these resources. The company is the largest producer of rough diamonds in the world by value, and diamonds continue to play a significant role in Botswana’s economy.