The Panda Pit at BHP
Billiton’s Ekati
diamond mine in
Canada
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 03 December 2008 – BHP Billiton – the world’s largest mining company – has withdrawn from a diamond exploration joint venture in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because it does not believe the deposit is worth developing.

“We do not believe that the landholding has the potential to deliver a tier-1 deposit which would meet all of our criteria,” said London-based BHP spokesman Illtud Harri in an e-mailed statement.

In a statement distributed by the Regulatory News Service, Mwana Africa plc – a miner of gold and nickel, and the company behind the joint venture with BHP – said it might stop exploring for diamonds in the country after BHP’s decision.

“BHP withdrew from the kimberlite diamond exploration agreement and proposed to end a joint venture with Gravity Diamonds Limited,” Mwana explained. “All options, including closing all kimberlite diamond exploration projects in the DRC, are being considered,” it added.

Harri did add that Melbourne-based BHP remains committed to pursuing deposits with long-life, low-cost and large-scale assets.