De Beers invests $2bn in large underground mine

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Site expected to add 40 years to life of South African diamond mine.

The De Beers Group yesterday announced plans to construct a new US$2 billion (£1.24bn) underground diamond mine in South Africa.

The mine will sit beneath De Beers’ open pit Venetia mine in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The company says the investment will help to extend the life of Venetia, the largest diamond mine in South Africa, to beyond 2040, while creating employment for thousands of people.

The underground production expected to commence in 2021. From about 130 million tonnes of ore there is potential to product 96 million carats. The mine will also support more than 8,000 jobs directly, and a further 5,000 through the supply chain which De Beers says will benefit the South African economy.

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The Republic of South Africa president Jacob Zuma was the guest of honour at the announcement of the new underground mine, and symbolically turned the first earth at a ceremony held at Venetia.

Also present were, amongst others, the chairman of Anglo American plc Sir John Parker, the chief executive of Anglo American and De Beers chairman Mark Cutifani, and the chief executive of the De Beers Group, Philippe Mellier.

President Zuma praised the investment by De Beers to extend the life of the mine, stating: “Let me again welcome the launch of this construction phase of the Venetia underground project. This 20 billion Rand investment in the diamond industry, the biggest single investment in the diamond industry in decades, signals that indeed our mining sector is poised for growth, and that it has a bright future.”

The Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu also commended the company’s investment decision, adding that it boded well for the economy of the province.

Mellier said of the mine: “125 years ago, here in South Africa, De Beers created an industry that it has led ever since. As De Beers expanded beyond borders and into new markets, our heritage has always been inextricably linked with South Africa. There can be no greater vote of confidence by our shareholders in South Africa and De Beers than the decision to build an underground mine of the future here at Venetia, one of a handful of world-class diamond mines around the world. With production set to continue into the 2040s, Venetia will support South Africa’s mining economy for generations to come, and make diamond moments possible for millions of people around the world.”
 

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