JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diamond mining company De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) is spending more on exploration as it searches for a new diamond mine to augment its two existing South African diamond mines – Venetia, in Limpopo province, and Voorspoed, in the Free State.
DBCM CEO Phillip Barton, who spoke to Mining Weekly Online on the sidelines of last week’s Oppenheimer De Beers Group Research Conference, said exploration expenditure had been increased from R30-million a year to R40-million a year, and that the company was prepared to spend more should it be warranted. (Also watch attached Creamer Media video).
“We’re still very positive around South Africa and our exploration activities continue, but it is looking like that needle in a haystack,“ he said, adding that the combination of brownfield and greenfield exploration under way was making use of the abundance of the geological information at the company’s disposal.
Meanwhile, the Venetia underground mining project, where $2.1-billion (R29-billion) is being invested for a yield of 100-million carats, is now 10% complete after commencing in 2012. The new underground mine will continue to be developed for another ten years before producing at nameplate capacity.
The decline from surface is now 2 km in length as it progresses down to 540 m, the level at which the operation will transition from being an opencast mine to becoming an underground operation.
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