The Debswana Diamond Company, a 50/50 joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers Group, in 2019 announced a new life extension project for its flagship mine, Jwaneng, in Botswana.

Following closely on the heels of Cut-8, the US$2 billion Cut-9 expansion project will secure the operation’s future for at least another five years while retaining its status as the largest revenue generator for the company.

This article first appeared in Mining Elites in Africa 2020

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Cut-9 will extend the life of Jwaneng past to at least 2035.

Once in operation, Cut-9 is expected to yield 52 million carats of diamonds for its shareholders, the government of Botswana and De Beers. It not only provides job security to some 2 000 personnel on site but will further create around 1 000 jobs during the peak phases of project delivery.

Read: Debswana will extend life of Botswana diamond production

While the current mining operation is expected to have depleted ore by 2029, the work required to expose the new diamond-bearing material will take several years and so to ensure operational continuity, the decision was taken to proceed well in advance.

To expose the ore, Cut-9 must remove approximately 513 Mt of waste material and process 44 Mt of material to maintain continuity of ore supply from the pit.

Read: Jwaneng: US$2 billion investment for Botswana’s brightest star

The waste removal process will the mine through to 2027 and has been outsourced to a mining contractor. Once the ore is exposed, the project will be handed over to operations to mine ore until 2035.

The contract to provide the full suite of required diamond mining services has been awarded to Majwe Mining, a joint venture between Bothakga Burrow Botswana and Thiess Botswana.

This portion of the project alone is valued at US$1.2 billion.