Mmegi Online :: Karowe eyes underground route to prolong lifespan
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Last Updated
Friday 21 September 2018, 15:09 pm.
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Karowe eyes underground route to prolong lifespan

LETLHAKANE: Officials at Karowe diamond mine have hinted to turning the mine into an underground operation in the near future. They said this way, the mine’s lifespan would go beyond the planned year 2035.
By Chakalisa Dube Tue 04 Nov 2014, 15:32 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Karowe eyes underground route to prolong lifespan








Paul Day, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Lucara Diamonds, which is Karowe’s holding company said this on Saturday at the mine (Karowe)’s achievement of one million carats recovered to date. “Karowe has every chance of running far in excess of its original design life. There is a good chance that Karowe will one day develop an underground mine operation to take life of this mine beyond the planned 2035.We are working on a few factors that can take the life of the mine beyond 2035,” Day said.

He continued: “We are already looking for Karowe Two. Recently the Ministry of Mines and Energy awarded us two exploration packages and we will start an accelerated exploration programme in these two areas in the very near future.” Day also noted that the current plant upgrade at the mine will improve efficiency and brighten the future of the mine.

As part of upgrading the mine’s plant, Day said that Karowe aims to be the first mine in the world to use X-Ray Transmission, technology as a primary diamond recovery process.

“My message is to make sure that you become part of this. Become familiar with the new circuit, new technology, challenges of harder rock, mining at depth, the challenges of increased maintenance, and the problems of high yield material”. The plant upgrade is expected to be completed in the last quarter of next year.

The XRT technology is capable of delivering separation

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efficiencies equal to conventional wet processing methods while reducing operational costs and enhancing downstream processing. It is mostly used in coal mining.

The Karowe plant optimisation would improve large diamond recovery, following the discovery of exceptional stones, and enable sustainable processing of hard ore in the south lobe. The plant upgrade is anticipated to cost C$55 million (Canadian Dollars), which is about P550 million in the latest exchange rate.

The mine is located in north-central Botswana and is part of the Orapa/Letlhakane Kimberlite district, one of the world’s most fertile diamond producing areas.

Lucara recently increased its revenue forecast by approximately 60 percent for the year to between (US) $240 and $250 million based on year to date sales, current diamond inventory and its forecast production.  The company has maintained its overall cost outlook for the mine of between $31-$33 per tonne ore processed.

“ Our current diamond inventory has increased our full year revenue guidance to between $240 and $250 million while maintaining our original carat production and operating cost guidance due to strong operational delivery at Karowe. 

“To the end of June, the mine sold 54 diamonds larger than 50 carats, including 11 diamonds larger than 100 carats and 30 diamonds selling for more than $1 million,” President and Chief Executive Officer, William Lamb, recently said. The Company achieved second quarter tender proceeds of $95.0 million ($849 per carat) from sales of 111,902 carats of diamond.

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