Home » Israel’s Maroon Capital to Revive Botswana’s Lerala Diamond Mine

Israel’s Maroon Capital to Revive Botswana’s Lerala Diamond Mine

Maroon Capital applies for a new mining license to operate the Lerala Diamond Mine, which has the potential to produce up to 400,000 carats per year.

by Motoni Olodun

Botswana’s mining industry could see a boost shortly, as an Israeli company plans to invest in the resuscitation of the Lerala Diamond Mine, which has been dormant for several years.

The Lerala Diamond Mine is located in eastern Botswana, about 300 km northeast of the capital Gaborone, and 30 km north of the Martin’s Drift border crossing into South Africa. The mine consists of five diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes, which were discovered by De Beers in the early 1990s.

The mine has a history of financial difficulties and closures, having changed hands several times since its inception. The most recent owner, Kimberly Diamonds Limited, placed the mine under judicial management in 2017, leading to its third shutdown in its history.

However, the mine’s fortunes may soon change, as Maroon Capital (Pty) Ltd, an Israeli company, has applied for a new mining license to operate the mine. Maroon Capital currently holds the mining rights and assets associated with the Lerala Diamond Mine, which is under care and maintenance.

According to Minister of Minerals & Energy Lefoko Maxwell Moagi, the government expects to grant the license before the end of the year, allowing Maroon Capital to invest in the resuscitation of the mine and resume production.

The minister said the government is supportive of the initiative, as it will create employment opportunities, boost the local economy, and contribute to the country’s diamond exports.

Botswana is the world’s leading producer of diamonds by value and the second largest by volume. Most of Botswana’s diamond production is of gem quality, resulting in the country’s position as a global leader in the diamond industry.

However, the country’s mining sector has also faced challenges, such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the depletion of existing mines, and the need for diversification. The government has been exploring the potential of other minerals, such as nickel, copper, coal, soda ash, gold, silver, and uranium, to reduce its dependence on diamonds.

The revival of the Lerala Diamond Mine is seen as a positive sign for Botswana’s mining industry, as it demonstrates the attractiveness of the country’s mineral resources and the willingness of foreign investors to partner with the government.

Maroon Capital is not the only Israeli company that has shown interest in Botswana’s diamond sector. In 2019, the Israeli Diamond Exchange signed a memorandum of understanding with the Okavango Diamond Company, a state-owned company that sells up to 15% of Debswana’s diamond production, to facilitate secondary rough trading.

The Lerala Diamond Mine has the potential to produce up to 400,000 carats per year, with an estimated mine life of 25 years. The mine also has a processing plant that can handle up to 200 tonnes per hour.

The minister said the government is looking forward to working with Maroon Capital to ensure the successful implementation of the project and the sustainable development of the mine.

He also urged the local communities to cooperate with the company and benefit from the opportunities that the mine will bring.

The minister expressed his hope that the Lerala Diamond Mine will become a model of excellence and innovation in the mining sector and contribute to the achievement of Botswana’s Vision 2036, which aims to transform the country into a high-income, knowledge-based economy.

Source: Weekend Post


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