[South Africa] Search for gems gets deeper as industry adapts (Business Day – May 9, 2016)


PROOF that diamonds are getting harder to find can be seen in the South African bush, where one of the world’s biggest mining companies is spending $2-billion tunnelling under an open-pit mine.

De Beers spent 25 years digging a 450m deep by 1km wide hole to access diamond-rich rock from the surface at the Venetia mine, close to the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Now a new underground mine is being constructed underneath the hole to reach diamonds more than 1,000m below ground — a big bet by De Beers that their investment will reap decades of profit. “We are in very challenging times,” Ludwig Von Maltitz, the mine’s GM, says. “Worldwide, the easier diamond sources have probably been found, but with this resource here, we hope we have something that can extend well into the future.”

As the hunt for diamonds becomes tougher, mining companies must go to greater lengths and absorb higher costs to secure the ultimate precious stone and symbol of love. “Across the globe, the big diamond deposits have been exploited, and I don’t see any big new mines coming online,” says Peter Major, mining specialist at Cadiz Solutions in Johannesburg.

“We are often told that the growing world population, combined with the increasing difficulty of finding diamonds, will mean prices always rise, but we will see.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/mining/2016/05/09/search-for-gems-gets-deeper-as-industry-adapts