It is reported that Debswana Diamond, a firm equally owned by the Botswana government and De Beers, is set to construct what is considered to be the world’s largest underground mine in the world at Jwaneng in Botswana.
The new mine has a $6 billion investment plan and the development of more than 360 km of tunnel is expected.
Debswana Diamond’s head of innovation and transformation Thabo Balopi, stated that full production of the mine is expected by 2034 and, that the underground mine is expected to extend the lifespan of Jwaneng by 20 years due to annual production capacity of nearly 9 million carats (Mct).
He also added that the mine will have an access decline by 2023.
An announcement made by De Beers in its production report for the first quarter of 2021 confirmed that Jwaneng mine had a produce of 3.2Mct in the first 3 months, however, Debswana Diamond’s head of technical services Len Dimbungu, said that the board has not yet acted upon any final decision relevant to financing the project.
Jwaneng is said to contribute nearly half the carats De Beers produces annually like last year when it produced 7.5Mct of the firm’s output of 25.1Mct.
It is alleged that the diamond mining sector in Botswana makes up a greater percentage of the country’s budget revenue as well as foreign exchange receipts hence why the government plans on expanding Botswana’s revenue base of other minerals such as gold, silver, copper, nickel, coal amongst others, as an attempt to avoid problems that will occur due to over dependence on one commodity.
Speaking at the Mining Indaba 2021, the president of Botswana Mokgweetis Masisi stated that his government is undertaking an assessment on several complexes to map and spot mineral occurrences to promote mineral prospecting in Botswana and subsequent mining of those rare metals.
Botswana has large coal reservoirs which so far have been largely unexploited and are at an estimation of 212 billion tons. To address this Masisi, confirmed that the government have developed a coal road map with 8 potential options to increase contribution of the resource to the economy and that the roadmap will also promote sustainable coal mining through the use of clean technologies as they seek to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Further plans for the development of multi-commodity exchange were at an advanced stage which offered a platform for trading various commodities beyond minerals and these initiatives would provide unlimited opportunities for investment in the minerals sector in Botswana.