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Botswana Diamonds kicks off mining in South Africa

Botswana Diamonds has announced the start of mining in South Africa. The firm is working on the Marsfontein mine as a proof-of-concept trial project that it expects will help improve operations at its larger Thorny River project.

The company, which has faced challenges including plant delivery delays and adverse weather, said it’s now on track to start production at Thorny River in the second half of this year. Botswana Diamonds is working on bringing the two projects Marsfontein and Thorny River into production this year. Drilling on the Thorny River kimberlite dyke system over the past two years helped identified two areas of interest for commercial mining.

Africa’s leading diamond producer

“We plan to mine these hotspots using the same operational approach as at Marsfontein, for a 15% production royalty agreement. However, most early-stage investors in the company continue to support new funding efforts,” said Chairperson John Teeling.

The company, which also has interests in Botswana, is undertaking an acquisition of 50% of ten prospecting licences in the central Kalahari, through local partner Future Minerals and 51%-owned subsidiary Siseko. It is also seeking to find a new joint venture partner to acquire the Ghaghoo mine, which former owner Gem Diamonds (LON: GEMD) placed on care and maintenance before selling it.

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Botswana is Africa’s top diamond producer in terms of value and the second biggest in terms of production. Despite overall mining output from the country rising by 8.2% in 2022, the nation believes that gains in copper and coal will not offset the decline of its diamond sector.

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