Home » Debswana Approves $1 Billion for Jwaneng Mine’s Underground Shift

Debswana Approves $1 Billion for Jwaneng Mine’s Underground Shift

Major Investment to Transform World's Top Diamond Mine, Boost Botswana's Economy

by Adenike Adeodun

In a landmark decision, Debswana has approved a $1 billion investment in the Jwaneng Underground Project, signifying a major transition from open pit to underground operations at the world’s most lucrative diamond mine. This pivotal move, a joint venture between De Beers Group and the government of Botswana, underscores a deep commitment to sustaining long-term diamond production, driving technological progress, and boosting employment in the region.

This significant investment in the project’s Exploration Access Development Phase is aimed at establishing a drilling platform for extensive sampling of the mine’s kimberlite pipes. It also involves constructing an early access decline for the underground mine and developing vital infrastructure for future project phases.

Set to commence in May 2024, this initial phase follows the successful completion of comprehensive feasibility studies. The project will subsequently advance through two additional phases: Phase 1 and Phase 2 mining. These stages are designed to support enduring production at Jwaneng, against the backdrop of a globally tightening long-term diamond supply.

According to a report by Mining Review, Al Cook, CEO of De Beers Group and Deputy Board Chairman of Debswana, stated: “Jwaneng is the crown jewel of diamond mines globally and a cornerstone of both Botswana’s economy and De Beers Group’s operations. As the world faces a decline in natural diamond supply, the Jwaneng Underground Project is a strategic venture, generating new value for stakeholders, introducing advanced technology, enhancing skills within our workforce, and providing exquisite diamonds globally.

“This investment aligns seamlessly with our strategy to prioritize high-quality projects. Our partnership with the Botswana government is integral to forging a prosperous future for Debswana.”

Since its inception in 1982, Jwaneng Mine has been a prolific diamond producer, averaging nearly 11 million carats annually. Currently, it provides employment to 2100 permanent staff and 3200 contractors.

Subject to future approvals by the Debswana Board, the Jwaneng underground project is poised to secure a long-term future for the mine. It promises to create additional jobs in Botswana, ensuring that Debswana continues to make a substantial contribution to the nation’s economy.

As this project unfolds, it marks a new chapter in Botswana’s mining history, setting a precedent for sustainable and technologically advanced diamond mining. Debswana’s investment not only fortifies Botswana’s position on the global mining stage but also signifies a forward-thinking approach to resource management and economic development.

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