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Botswana Diamonds outlines Marange mining plans

business reporter

JOHANNESBURG — Aim-listed Botswana Diamonds (BOD) on Friday shared details of its areas of focus and strategy for the near future.

This includes the ramp-up of its South African Marsfontein operation, which produced its first diamonds from gravels and residual stockpiles last week.

The company intends to start a pilot production plant in the Marange area of Zimbabwe, restore production at Thorny River, in South Africa, while exploring for blows on the ground and identifying drill targets at Central Kalahari, in Botswana.

The company also expects to unlock opportunities at the Maibwe project, in Botswana. 

During the financial year ended June 30, BOD’s initial focus had been on the Thorny River kimberlite dyke system which hosts former mines Klipspringer and Marsfontein.

Both mines were discovered on the dyke system in the area.

Dykes are often narrow, maybe a metre wide or less. A blow is where the dyke balloons out to a size capable of being mined as a conventional openpit operation.

Marsfontein’s blow was such a rich source of diamonds that the capital expenditure was recovered in less than four days.

The Marange area of Zimbabwe has, in recent years, produced large quantities of diamonds.

BOD entered into a joint venture (JV) with Aim-listed Vast Resources over a concession in the Marange area.

BOD owns 13,3% of the JV and will provide technical and geological input to Vast.

Vast agreed to provide the first $1 million to the project in the form of a loan.

“We understand that Vast is hopeful that a final agreement with the Zimbabwe authorities is imminent,” said BOD.

The political situation in each of the three countries where BOD operates has improved, the company stated.

Fresh democratic elections in Botswana had led to continuity and stability.

There was also a slow improvement in the investment attractiveness of South Africa, while Zimbabwe showed glimmers of hope. 

BOD said delays at its projects in Botswana had resulted in a redirection of focus onto the properties held in South Africa by Vutomi.

Notwithstanding, the general business environment remained uncertain globally.

International trade had faced restrictions, and the European Union was facing the first exit of a member state.

Chinese growth rates, which had underpinned global economic growth, were weak, while in the US, the economic expansion was now starting to look fragile.

BOD stated that zero or negative interest rates were becoming more prevalent. — Mining Weekly

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