Diamond mining giant Debswana has indicated that plans are advanced to add 25 more years to one of its mines, Letlhakane mine.
The announcement follows a recent statement made by the Minister of Resources, Green Technology and Energy Sadique Kebonang in Parliament that the open pit mine, which is owned by De Beers Mining Company through Debswana Mining Company, has come to the end of its economic life and will be closed.
Kebonang had said that the open pit mine would be replaced by dump treatment resources.
This past week, Debswana Corporate Affairs Manager, Matshidiso Kamona issued a statement indicating that the Letlhakane Mine Tailings Resource Treatment Project (LMTRTP) is nearing completion.
According to Kamona, the project will add 25 more years to the diamond production at the mine which currently employs 800 people.
“Construction of the project which will avail diamonds to Debswana when mining comes to an end at Letlhakane Mine next year, started in early 2015”, Kamona said.
In the statement Debswana said that the project would provide a specifically designed mining and treatment solution to ensure optimal economic recovery of the Letlhakane coarse tailings mineral resource. Additionally the project is also poised to save jobs when the current mining phase ends next year.
“The LMTRTP is currently at 80 percent of overall completion, while structural and electrical installations remain on course. The project is expected to be commissioned during the third quarter of 2017”.
Elsewhere, Debswana is said to be engaged in technical studies whose intentions is to look into pushing the Orapa and Damtshaa mines operations beyond the projected 2050 lifespan.
The Damtshaa mine, which was put on care and maintenance because of weak demand for diamonds last year, will be opened immediately after the diamond markets recovers. The mine was put on care and maintenance beginning January 2016 because of deterioration in the diamond markets as result of unprecedented slow movement of diamond inventory throughout the entire pipeline.
At the time, about 12 contractors were engaged by Debswana to operate at Damtshaa mine, four of which are joint ventures between locals and foreigners while the other eight are wholly citizen owned.