ORAPA: Diamonds from Debswana operations continue to play a vital role in the country’s economic and social progress, says the general manager of Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM), Bakani Motlhabani.
Giving welcome remarks at Debswana’s 50th Anniversary celebration at Itekeng Stadium on Saturday, Motlhabani said their core mandate is to mine diamonds in a safe and responsible manner.
“Being a mining outfit, we don’t play in the space of the glitz and glamour associated with the sparkle of the finished diamond product. What we are familiar with is the rhythm associated with open pit drilling, blasting, loading and ore processing. From all this, our people unearth gems that transform the lives of many across the world,” Motlhabani said.
He added: “Debswana cares about our people, our communities and our environment. The partnership between the government of Botswana and De Beers has brought about remarkable growth that changed Botswana’s status from being one of the poorest countries in Africa to being one of its modern economic success stories. It must be noted that this was not achieved through reaching production targets alone. It took great leadership and sound governance.”
OLDM, Motlhabani noted, with its three sites produces a diverse diamond product both in volume and quality.
“We have fancy gems from Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines and the industrial diamonds from Orapa Mine. From 1971 to end of 2018, we have recovered approximately 400 million carats. As we tread into the interesting and exciting world of technology,
He stated that Debswana would continue to adopt creative and appropriate technologies that contribute to both safer and more efficient assets.
“For instance, the equipment used in diamond recovery in the 1990s was archaic and not very efficient. Old x-ray machines were replaced with energy efficient channel displacement machines that led to greater accuracy in recovery without relying on human intervention,” said Motlhabani.
He added that it is through such efficiencies in their ways of work that has contributed to the recent recovery of a 41.11-carat blue diamond at Plant 2.
“Orapa in its history has never produced such an exquisite stone – the Okavango Blue had us beaming with pride. It is certainly an international phenomenon and has further validated our reputation globally. This beauty and diversity of the resource is also mirrored in our workforce. I see men and women who are unique yet united by one vision to be a global benchmark diamond business. Our Debswana value of ‘Be Passionate’ describes us very well as “we are exhilarated by the product we mine and sell, the challenges we face and the opportunities we create”.