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Orapa’s Cut 3 to remove 96m tonnes

CHAKALISA DUBE
Mpoloka at last week's conference PIC; KEAOGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: The expansion of the Orapa pit will require the removal of 96 million tonnes of waste, in order to tap into the diamonds, Debswana officials have revealed.

Speaking during a mining expo last week, project portfolio manager, Eunice Mpoloka said the expansion, known as Cut 3, was still at pre-feasibility stage.

“It will move into the feasibility stage next year, and hopefully commence implementation in 2020,” she said. Mpoloka stated that some social facilities and other service provision centres in Orapa would have to relocate in order to pave way for the implementation of the Cut 3 mining project. It is anticipated that facilities such as the Debswana Training centre and primary crusher will relocate to pave way for Cut 3.

Cut 3 will be the next area of mining at Orapa and will extend the life of mine beyond 2030, which is the current limit based on the resources contained in Cut 2.

At Jwaneng, where mining in the multibillion pula Cut 8 area is in full swing, Debswana is already looking at Cut 9, a further extension of the gigantic pit. “In Jwaneng we are preparing to mine at Cut 9 and we will possibly start mining there early next year. “We are currently at the feasibility

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stage and the November board will determine the implementation of the project,” she said. She revealed that further expansions of the Jwaneng pit after Cut 9 could take the form of an underground operation, instead of simply deepening and widening the pit, as happened with Cut 8.

“We are still at a concept stage with reference to our next project after Cut 9. We do not know what direction we will take; whether we will be mining underground and also doing open pit mining. The economics will dictate that to us,” she added.

Debswana could also go underground at Letlhakane, where production is focussed on the tailing treatment plant after the mine there reached its end of life. The tailing plant project involves recovering diamonds from the millions of tonnes of waste left behind by previous decades of inferior mining technology.

“We are also currently at concept stage with reference to our plans to go underground at Letlhakane mine,” said Mpoloka. She however said the mine was capacitating its workforce in preparation of possibly going underground in the near future.



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