Global mined diamond production to increase, or will it?
[Image Courtesy: Ruslan Akhmetsaphin, ALROSA, Mining.com]
While it is known that majority of diamond mines are depleting fast and nearing their end of life with a dwindling rough supply in past few years, recent news stories may give an impression that enough traction is happening that may lead to increase in global mined diamond production. However, a look at the comprehensive scenario may form a differing interpretation. Let’s first consider the various events happening with mined diamond production.
De Beers’ Debswana to increase life of Jwaneng mine in Botswana
De Beers is saving the world’s eighth largest and richest mine – Jwaneng diamond mine in Botswana from going into slumber. Jwaneng mine, a 50-50 JV between Botswana government and De Beers’ Debswana Diamond Company, and which also contributes almost 70% of partnership’s revenue, is being revived to extend the life of mine till 2035. The venture called the Cut-9 project, is expected to produce additional 53 million carats of diamonds till end of life. To enable the same, Debswana has already awarded a $ 1.2 Bn contract to Majwe Mining to provide diamond mining services, and at its peak is expected to create more than 1,000 jobs. Debswana will invest around $ 2 Bn over the life of project, for extension of the Jwaneng mine. In November 2018, the company already completed Cut-8 project – a $3 Bn 10 year long expansion plan extending the life of mine to 2024.
Debswana is targeting 24 Mn carats diamond output in 2019
In 2018, Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Mining increased diamond outputs by 6% to 24.1 million carats – a four year high. In 2019 also, the company is aiming to keep the diamond production level constant at around 24 million carats.
Chinese companies set to return to Zimbabwe’s diamond fields
Almost three years after former president Robert Mugabe expelled Chinese company Anjin along with Mbada diamonds on looting allegations and grounds of special grant licenses expiring, Zimbabwe government under the new President – Emmerson Mnangagwa, is bringing Chinese companies back along with Russia’s Alrosa to Chiadzwa diamond fields. They will be entering into partnerships with Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to help in achieving government’s target of $ 400 Mn revenue by 2019. This development came after neighboring Botswana passed on an offer to do the same.