Johannesburg, South Africa — 15 February 2013 – The De Beers Group of Companies has announced that it will invest approximately US$2 billion to build a new underground mine beneath the currently operating open pit Venetia mine in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
When completed, the new underground mine will extend the life of Venetia until 2042 and replace the open pit as South Africa’s largest diamond mine. This announcement follows receipt of the final outstanding regulatory clearances earlier this month.
The development and build phase of the underground mine is expected to create 1,000 jobs over the next nine years while open pit mining operations continue. Underground operations will begin production in 2021, yielding approximately 96Mcts during the life of the mine, and securing more than 3,000 jobs.
The project will employ semi-skilled and skilled workers, drawn primarily from the region and trained for the project, mostly acquiring technical skills that will enhance the country’s technical skill resource base. The bulk of all equipment and services will be sourced in South Africa.
De Beers Group CEO Philippe Mellier commented: “Our investment in Venetia enables us to provide greater certainty around long-term supply for our sight-holders, particularly those with manufacturing operations in South Africa. Our sight-holders have significant investments in the local cutting industry and this new underground mine will provide a large and predictable supply of rough diamonds for decades to come.”
De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) chairman Barend Petersen said: “We see this significant capital investment as another concrete example of our commitment to the South African mining industry, an industry on which the South African economy was built following the discovery of diamonds in 1866.”
DBCM CEO Phillip Barton stated: “The De Beers Venetia underground project team has been assessing the safest and most economic options to extend the mining operations at Venetia mine, and unlock the extensive ore reserves beneath the open pit. Venetia will play a major role in the future of De Beers,” he added.
The Venetia Mine underground project was approved in 2012 by the De Beers and Anglo American Boards. Environmental authorisation was granted in July 2012, and the Environmental Management Plan was approved by the Department of Mineral Resources in October. The final outstanding regulatory clearances were obtained earlier this month.
Source: De Beers Group. For more information, click here.