Gareth Penny,
Managing Director,
De Beers
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 30 September 2008 – De Beers, African Diamonds, and Wati Ventures – the shareholders of Boteti – are currently in the concluding stages of discussions with the government of Botswana to resolve all outstanding issues surrounding the development of their AK06 project.

The world’s biggest diamond company, De Beers – the senior partner in the venture – has confirmed the announcement earlier this week by junior partner African Diamonds that major progress had been made towards getting the mining licence granted.

A de Beers announcement here said the discussions had principally focussed on mitigating the impact of the regional power shortage, which presented a challenge – particularly with regard to the development timelines – for the AK06 project. The talks had been constructive and had aimed to find a way to provide the project with a secure and cost-effective power supply, while avoiding undue delay. De Beers said it was confident that the successful conclusion of these discussions would result in AK06 joining Botswana’s world-class stable of diamond mines in 2011.

The statement added that, separately, agreement, in principle had already been reached between De Beers and government for the diamonds from AK06 to be sold through DTC Botswana – a 50/50 joint venture partnership between the government and De Beers – in order to support the Botswana government’s beneficiation objectives.

De Beers group managing director Gareth Penny commented: “Government has acknowledged the gravity of the power supply issue, and is investigating solutions to address the challenge and ensure the project has a sustainable supply of power. We are appreciative of the positive and meaningful engagement that government has shown throughout this process. As Botswana’s largest private investor, De Beers is excited to further our commitment to Botswana’s diamond future with the development of the multi-billion Pula AK6 project,” he concluded.

African Diamonds MD James Campbell commented: “the news is highly favourable, but I am keeping the bottle of champagne on ice until the mining licence is actually granted.”