John Teeling, chairman of the newly formed Botswana Diamonds Plc exalted its three Botswana assets that were transferred to his company following the acquisition of African Diamonds Plc by Lucara at the end of last year.
The three assets are AK 8, AK 9 and BK 5, which are all along the Orapa areaÔÇöwhich he has dubbed the best diamond address in the world.
“We will be focusing on the sampling of AK 8 and AK 9 starting from this January and that should take us about six months,” he said.
The focus of the sampling will try to determine the value of the mine as well as the commercial level of the deposits. The outcome of the sampling should be able to inform the company on the future planning for the mine, which might include building or renting small processing at the site or shipping the ore a central processing plant.
“We have done an extensive study running up 120 pages towards the commercial operation of the sites,” he said in a telephone interview from Dublin on Friday.
Both AK 8 and AK9 were former De Beers operations and they were farmed to African Diamonds in 2004 following their joint venture that was called Boteti Diamond Project.
“Since 2004 we have explored the two kimberlites using the most advanced technologies. As for AK 8, we found that the kimberlite was bigger than what was originally thought although the grade was not that higher,” he said.
“I am very bullish about BK 5 and I think that can provide a stand alone mine which will mean that we will have to build a plant or rent one. What we are looking at is small and low CAPEX mine at BK 5 with a high potential,” Teeling added.
He said the exploration exercise for the three assets will be ramped up this year and are expected to be the centers piece of the company’s operations across the African region.
Botswana Diamonds Plc, which is expected to be listed both on London AIM and Botswana Stock Exchanges, has some interest in Cameroon,, Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.
Of all the four countries outside Botswana, Zimbabwe seems to be more advanced with some of the company top officials arriving in Zimbabwe this week. The visit is aimed at fast tracking negotiations with the local strategic partners and government officials in that country.
The negotiations are focused on concession areas at Marange, Murowa and possibly in the northern part of the economically and politically challenged country.
It also comes ahead of Teelings visit to the southern African region. He is scheduled to arrive in Botswana on February 2 and during that visit will talk to local investors in Botswana Diamonds Plc.
He said operations in other parts of Africa look like “Botswana in the 1960s” with no infrastructure development.
“It is just jungles and no roads. It is like Botswana in the 1960s,” he added.