De Beers aims to extend life of South African mines.

By bne IntelliNews December 6, 2011
De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the South African arm of the worlds largest rough diamond producer, aims to extend the life of two of its three mining operations in the country in order to maintain its annual output at about six million carats, Business Day reported. The management teams of the Voorspoed mine and the Kimberley tailings treatment operation will have to develop economic strategies within the next two years to extend the lives of their operations beyond 2018. DBCM is now working on a ZAR 150mn (EUR 13.9mn) feasibility study for a ZAR 15bn expansion of its Venetia mine that would add 100 million carats to the mines reserves and extend its life by 26 years to 2046. The project should be approved by De Beers at the board meeting in May 2012. DBCM expects its 2012 output to be slightly below the six million carat target, as it needs to focus on waste-stripping that has lagged behind, when it strived to return to full production after the decline caused by the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Normally, DBCM has six months worth of ore uncovered and ready to extract at its Venetia and Voorspoed opencast mines, but it has fallen back to two months and needs to be corrected next year. Anglo American, which owns 45% of De Beers, has agreed with the Oppenheimer dynasty to buy their 40% stake in the company for USD 5.1bn. Under the deal, the Botswana government has an option to increase its stake to 25% from 15%.

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