De Beers does ‘the right thing’ with mine sale

Workers at De Beers' Voorspoed mine. The company is looking at machinery that will help streamline its production to improve value. (De Beers)

Community trust set up as part of South African mine sale.

De Beers has completed the sale of its Jagersfontein diamond mine to Hong Kong-based holding company Superkolong Consortium, and in doing so has set up a trust to ensure the future prosperity of the local area in South Africa.

De Beers began the disposal process in March this year and has now completed the transaction that covers all of its assets including its mine dumps. The transaction had taken extra time to complete as De Beers battled with the new owners to “do the right thing” and ensure that the deal will make a “meaningful contribution to the community”.

De Beers had insisted that Superkolong Consortium, which is a broad-based BEE holding company for a number of mining operations including alluvial diamond operations, agree to a number of criteria including technical competence, available funding to develop the new processing operation, BEE equity participation, employment creation and significant community-based initiatives in an area where mining ceased almost 40 years ago.

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De Beers said that the investment into redeveloping the Jagersfontein mine will promote local economic development and create opportunities for local Free State entrepreneurs as has been the case at De Beers Voorspoed Mine near Kroonstad.

As part of the deal the Jagersfontein community will benefit from the establishment of a community trust that will hold 10 percent equity ownership in the new holding company and will receive SAR20million (£1.8million) funding to run community projects.

De Beers acting chief executive Barend Petersen said: “I am very pleased to say that De Beers, with some determination to do the right thing, and taking the time necessary to engage with stakeholders affected by our business, has concluded another transaction to introduce miners with empowerment credentials to opportunities which have the potential to deliver significant returns for many.

“The impact, particularly at local government level, and in the provinces where economic development is so important to communities near mining resources, cannot be over-stated as development in the rural areas of South Africa can exponentially benefit the economy and therefore society.”

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