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

Debswana is a 50:50 joint venture formed in 1969 by Botswana and De Beers Group. The joint venture achieved full production from the Jwaneng Mine in July 1982.

Its shareholders have approved the budget for the current year to enable the start of the next phase of work at the diamond mine.

The company has awarded an A$1.7bn ($1.2bn) contract to Majwe Mining to provide diamond mining services as part of the Cut-9 project.

Debswana chairman Bruce Cleaver said: “The extension of Jwaneng Mine secures Botswana’s rightful place as a leading diamond producing nation for years to come.

“With global consumer demand for diamonds reaching record levels in 2018, the extension will enable us to continue to meet the needs of our consumers all over the world. We are deeply proud of the central role Jwaneng Mine has played in Botswana’s remarkable development story and of the role this investment will play in its future.”

The Cut-9 project, at its peak, can potentially generate over 1,000 jobs, said Debswana.

Under its contract, Majwe, which is a joint venture between CIMIC Group’s global mining services provider Thiess (70%) and Bothakga Burrow Botswana (30%), will be responsible for full scope mining services for over nine years. The diamond mining services covered under the contact are drill and on-bench services, mine planning, load and haul, equipment maintenance, and mining operations.

Last November, Majwe Mining completed the Cut-8 project at the Jwaneng diamond mine, which 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.

Cut-8 provides access to an estimated 88 million carats of primarily high-quality diamonds from roughly 75 million tons of material.

CIMIC Group mining and minerals executive and Thiess managing director Douglas Thompson said: “I am pleased to be extending our long-term relationship with Debswana Diamond Company and Majwe, delivering scalable and innovative solutions that are tailored to our client’s production and expansion needs.

“This contract extends our compliance with Botswana’s Citizen Economic Empowerment Policy and to delivering sustainable mining.”