Modern Mining February 2019


world-class operations such as Cullinan (which still has a huge resource) and Finsch when it is becoming ever more difficult to find new deposits of any real size? De Beers Group’s focus is on undertaking long-term sustainable commercial activities – those that deliver the optimal outcome both for our own business and for the countries and communities in which we operate. When we reviewed our activities at Cullinan and Finsch, we took the decision that selling those mines was the right approach. This was because of the fit within our portfolio, as well as the view that another operator would have the potential to operate the mines in a way that could continue to deliver maximum benefit to South Africa and the local community. The decision also allowed us to fund the expansion of Venetia. With respect to Botswana, have the Cut 9 project at Jwaneng and the Cut 3 project at Orapa been approved? Is there a possibility of an underground operation at Letlhakane? As the two key assets in Botswana’s mining environment, Jwaneng and Orapa will continue to play the central role at Debswana in the years ahead and we are pleased with the progress of work relating to Cut 9 at Jwaneng and Cut 3 at Orapa, and will communicate more about these in due course. While it would not be economic to develop Letlhakane as an underground operation, we have successfully established a tailings processing plant at the mine that will deliver around 800 000 carats a year of produc- tion from Letlhakane. BC MM BC

continues to perform strongly and marine mining continues to represent a greater share of Namibia’s production. Debmarine Namibia currently operates a fleet of five mining vessels together with the newest addition, the sam- pling and exploration vessel Mv SS Nujoma . The prospects for an additional vessel look very good and we look forward to sharing more details on this in due course. De Beers has had only a token presence in Angola in recent years. Are you considering returning to the country? More generally, how does De Beers view Africa as a destination for exploration and mine development? I was invited to meet with President MM BC

View of Debmarine Namibia’s mining and recovery vessel ‘Debmar Atlantic’ 35 km off the Namibian coastline.

Aerial view of Debswana’s Jwaneng mine in Botswana. This photo, which gives an idea of the scale of the operation, was taken several years ago when the Cut 8 expansion project was starting. Debswana, a 50/50 joint venture between De Beers and the Government of Botswana, is now considering Cut 9.

Similarly, what is the outlook for Namdeb in Namibia? For how much longer do you see land-based mining continuing? Is the focus going to be increasingly on marine diamond mining given the depletion of on-shore resources? Namdeb’s land-based operations represent one of the oldest actively mined diamond deposits in the world. Namdeb’s land operations have performed phenomenally well for many decades. However, it is now increasingly challenging to extract diamonds long-term from that on- shore resource. The leadership team at Namdeb has been doing a tremen- dous job in their work to prolong the life of mine at these deposits, and this will be an ongoing focus. Offshore, Debmarine Namibia MM BC

February 2019  MODERN MINING  31

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