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Diamond mining in South Africa becoming more difficult

Diamond mining in South Africa becoming more difficult

South Africa

One of the world’s largest mining companies De Beers is spending 2 billion US dollars tunnelling beneath a vast open-pit mine in South Africa, as prospecting for diamonds in the country is increasingly becoming difficult

De Beers spent more than 20 years digging a 450-metre hole to access diamond-rich rock from the surface at the Venetia mine, close to the border with Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Now, a whole new underground mine is being constructed underneath the hole to reach diamonds more than 1,000 metres below ground

The easier sources have probably been found, but I still believe that we've got (like) this resource here, something that can extend well into the future, and even as we plan it now around 2040-43.

Venetia mine’s General Manager, Ludwig Von Maltitz said these are very challenging times.

“The easier sources have probably been found, but I still believe that we’ve got like this resource here, something that can extend well into the future, and even as we plan it now around 2040-43, we are hopeful that we can take it even beyond 2043, by extending it at the time that we get down to that levels,” he said.

Unstable and tumbling diamond prices forced De Beers to close down mines in Botswana and Canada in 2015. Amid the swings, Maltitz said the hunt continues.

“I still believe, although we have challenges, it’s important that we take the communities, the employees with. If we can do it good enough, I can’t see why mining should not a lucrative business going forward in terms of that space.”

The company’s future plans include training miners to work in different, often harsh conditions in order to fully exploit its ventures.

AFP

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