The first diamonds recovered from the newly established Ghaghoo mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) are expected to go on sale in February next year.
According to Gem Diamonds, which holds a 25-year mining licence at Ghaghoo, the mine had produced 4,028 carats by the end of September. It is estimated that Ghaghoo, which was opened in September, has a total carat resource of 20.5 million carats at an average of $162 per carat with a total in situ value of $3.3 billion.
In a statement released last week, chief executive officer Clifford Elphick said they are pleased to have completed the construction of the mine on time and within budget and to have overcome the challenges posed by developing a decline through some 80 metres of sand. He also revealed that Gem Diamonds has drawn down the entire $25 million debt facility for the first phase of the mine’s development. Ghaghoo mine was acquired from Gope Exploration Company in 2007 for $34.1 million. The mine is the first underground diamond mine in
The first Ghaghoo diamonds will be sold alongside stones from the company’s 70 percent-owned Letšeng mine in Lesotho, the source of some of the largest white gem-quality diamonds on record.
Gem Diamonds said it had recovered 28,365 carats from Letšeng in the quarter ended Sept. 30, slightly fewer than the 28,623 carats mined in the preceding three months. Gem Diamonds aims to ramp up to planned phase one production rate of 200,000 carat per year to 220,000 – extracted from 720,000 tonnes of ore by the end of the year.
The Ghaghoo mine is estimated to produce 250,000 – 300,000 carats in 2015. At the current mining rate, the mine’s lifespan is expected to run for the next 30 years or more.