Botswana Diamonds has discovered a potential spot for diamond mining in an area of South Africa that it claims was an important region for the sector in the 19th century.
A number of diamond mines existed in the Free State Project area prior to 1880, but they were abandoned during an economic recession at the time, Botswana Diamonds explained last week. Most records of these operations were destroyed in the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the century, and explorers have dedicated little effort to the area since, the company added. The area is close to Petra Diamonds’ Kimberley, Finsch and Koffiefontein mines.
Rock testing has now confirmed the existence of eight kimberlites, with evidence suggesting they contain diamonds for mining, Botswana Diamonds said. Mine developer Vutomi, of which the company owns 72%, originally identified the area’s potential using satellite imagery and archives of records.
A detailed ground survey is currently under way to assess the size of the kimberlites, with Botswana Diamonds expecting to announce the results in November.
“The best place to find a mine is where there is or was a mine,” said John Teeling, chairman of Botswana Diamonds. “The Free State area was the center of world diamond mining over 100 years ago but has been neglected. New technology and new ideas offer opportunities.… Now we have to see what opportunities exist for [Botswana Diamonds].”
The company’s other exploration projects include a joint venture in Botswana with Russian miner Alrosa. While the Dublin, Ireland-based company has not yet recorded revenue, its losses decreased 19% to $213,536 (GBP 161,868) in the fiscal year ending June 30, it said in a results statement Thursday.