The contract was awarded for the expansion of the Jwaneng diamond mine located in South Central Botswana


The Jwaneng diamond mine is located in Botswana. (Credit: ivabalk from Pixabay)

Debswana Mining Company has reportedly terminated a contract worth $1.3bn with a unit of Australian firm Thiess to extend operational life of Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana.

UK’s De Beers and the Botswana government jointly owns Debswana Mining Company.

The Jwaneng diamond mine is located in South Central Botswana, about 160 miles (257km) southwest of Gaborone.

Debswana and the Botswana government said that the project is planned to be carried out in-house, according to Reuters.

In March 2019, a contract for the expansion project, known as Cut 9, was awarded by Debswana to Majwe Mining, a joint venture between Thiess (70%) and long-term local partner Bothakga Burrow Botswana (30%).

The contract follows Majwe’s completion of the Cut 8 project at the Jwaneng diamond mine in 2018.

The Cut 8 project increased the depth of the mine from 400m to 650m. As a result of the eight cut, the pit of the mine became 2.7km long and 1.8km wide.

Debswana corporate affairs head Rachel Mothibatsela was quoted by the news agency as saying: “The Cut 9 operation will transition to an owner-mining operation, with some of the key services and resources, such as labour, being provided by contractors/service providers to Jwaneng Mine.”

The nine-year contract awarded to Majwe included full scope mining services which covers drill and on-bench services, mine planning, load and haul, equipment maintenance, and mining operations.

Through the Cut-9 project, Debswana expected to produce an estimated 53 million carats of rough diamonds from 44 million tons of treated material from the Jwaneng diamond mine.

Discovered in Southern Botswana in 1972, the Jwaneng mine comprises three separate volcanic pipes with production varying from about 12.5 to 15 million carats annually.