In Botswana, work has begun on a new diamond mine described as "a very great geological achievement".
In Botswana, work has begun on a new diamond mine described as "a very great geological achievement". it is being developed by the rich mining company of De Beers. An agreement was signed in the capital. Gabarone, on Tuesday (11 April) between the Botswana government and the company on the conditions governing the development.
SYNOPSIS: The site is being developed at Jwaneng in the southern region of Botswana where De Beers had discovered ??? large diamond pipe. The government and the company are equal shareholders in the ventures being developed jointly.
Construction of the project, including the infrastructure, will take about four years. Building a new tarred road, a power station and the provision of water from part of the project. The mine and associated services will directly employ 2,000 people. The mine will also create indirect employment opportunities, thus providing a major stimulus to the economy of the region. Commercial production is due to start in 1982 at an initial rate of about 3.5 million carats a year.
The project is expected to cost about 200 million dollars cost about 200 million dollars. An American bank has been retained to arrange necessary financing through a consortium of international banks.
Jwaneng is considered the richest diamond find in the country so far. According to Batswana sources, it could well outstrip the Orapa mine, the major producer so far in both production and revenue.
The signing ceremony was held in Gabarone and attended by senior government and company officials.
De Beers chairman, Mr Harry Oppenheimer, signed on behalf of the company.
Botswana's Minister of Mineral resources, Dr. G. Chiepe, represented the government.