Debswana, the diamond-mining joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana, is seeking permission to further extend the life of its Jwaneng diamond mine to 2035 by deepening it.
Still in the final stages of a $3 billion expansion plan called Cut 8, that began in 2010, to extend the mine’s life to 2024, Debswana is now seeking permission for a further expansion dubbed Cut 9, that will deepen the currently 650-metre-deep pit to 830 metres and allow mining operations to continue till 2035.
The Jwaneng mine, currently the world’s richest by value, is estimated to still hold almost 175 million carats together with another 24.3 million carats in its tailings. The Cut 9 initiative, feasibility studies for which will be completed by the end of this year, is projected to add another 50 million carats to the estimate.
With the expansion slated to be funded internally, the Botswana government plans to bundle the financing for the Cut 9 project into its negotiations with De Beers for the renewal of a 10-year sales agreement for the mine’s rough diamond output. The current agreement ends in September 2020.