Vol.23 No.75

Monday 22 May 2006    





Cartoon Strip

Business Week



Arts/Culture Review




Business Week
Production To Begin On Martins Drift Next Year

By Onalenna Modikwa
Staff Writer

5/22/2006 4:08:48 PM (GMT +2)

LERALA: With the present planning and lead times on capital equipment, Martins Drift Diamond Project is expected to be in production at the beginning of next year. DiamonEx Botswana Ltd which is mining diamonds from five diamondiferous kimberlite pipes, has already applied for a mining licence and expecting it to be issued shortly. The initial mine planning will result in a 12 year life.

The mine will be situated some 15 km to the north west of Lerala village in Tswapong. Recently the company carried out consultations with residents of Lerala on the water development for the mine. DiamondEx Manager Mark Coetzee has said that they expect the company's total investment from initial prospecting through to mine establishment to be approximately P1 million. This according to Coetzee will be the company's new mine in Botswana and is earmarked to be the next diamond producing mine in the country apart from De Beers' operations. "The existing management team has a combined 143 years of mine establishment and operation background within the mining industry. This has resulted in a positive outcome of the feasibility for the mine." The Lerala area was previously mined by De Beers and was known as Tswapong mine but is presently known as Martins Drift Diamond Project. The company is however planning a community-involved name selection process. Coetzee added that from the interaction that has taken place during the bulk sampling process and consultative meetings with the community, residents are very eager to see the mine established to create an income, employment and the possibility of business ventures. He said they initially identified potential water sources and that the most reliable source within the closest proximity, with the capability of servicing the mine's needs as well as those of people already making use of the source. The result of this exercise brought the company to the aquifer situated at the foot of Tswapong hills. "We then succeeded in doing some detailed geological studies of the area to determine the best positions to establish boreholes." A total of nine potential borehole sites situated to Lerala's north were pin pointed. Coetzee said the selection and position of the boreholes are situated to reduce the potential of having an excessive draw down that may cause other user boreholes from drying up. He stated that following the consultation, they envisaged that the establishment of a reservoir in the area had the potential of being used as a shared resource for people that have established boreholes in operation. In addition, three boreholes that have been established on site will assist with water supply as well as any rain or ground water generated in the pit areas of the mine. On the issue of shareholding Coetzee said "DiamonEx Ltd is a dual listed company with listings on the Australian and Botswana Stock Exchange while DiamonEx Botswana Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DiamonEx thereby giving the public the opportunity to obtain a shareholding in a diamond mine. This creates the opportunity for Botswana citizens to hold shares in the country's richest resource, diamonds. He said during the licence application negotiation process, they would be advised whether government is interested in a shareholding. The manager stated that they have already identified a marketing strategy for their diamonds with several interested parties and that marketing would be developed over the next few months culminating in the final approval from government. Coetzee added that Botswana would benefit a lot economically. "This will in turn result in the development of secondary business, which we want to promote to ensure a sustainable income for the area on mine closure. In addition, we are required to pay royalties and taxes to government, a definite benefit for the local community as well as the country as a whole." The mine will employ between 230 and 290 people, made up of direct employees and contracted labour. DiamonEx Botswana Ltd's head office is situated in Brisbane, Australia with an office in Gaborone. However, the office will move to Lerala once the mine has been established. Send us your comments about Mmegi newspaper Search For Old Newspaper Editions To advertise contact us through email

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