Irish exploration and project development company Botswana Diamonds has secured a 2.5ha Mooikloof kimberlite pipe concession in South Africa.

The Mooikloof Prospecting Licence is located near De Beers’ Venetia Mine. Mooikloof is also located adjacent to Oaks mine, which was owned by De Beers and had a grade of 53 carats per hundred tonne of ore (cpht) at a value of $156 per carat.

The company noted that the diamondiferous kimberlite pipe was last prospected in 1986.

“Analysis shows that a mine on the Thorny River deposit could be profitable assuming positive results from additional exploration.”

Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling said: “This was discovered and explored in the 1980s by De Beers who went on to develop the Oaks mine next door.

“The pipe is historically estimated at 2.5ha in size and contains diamonds. Using recently developed exploration techniques we will re-assess this high potential pipe.”

Furthermore, the company highlighted the possibility of past explorers under-estimating the kimberlite pipe size, grade and diamond quality of the Mooikloof kimberlite.

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The company has also received the technical economic evaluation report (TEE Report) on the Thorny River Project, which showcased a deposit of 1.2 to 2 million tonnes, with a grade of 46 to 74 cpht and carat values between $120 and $220 per carat.

The report recommended using the top end of the grade and value ranges, under the assumption that additional kimberlite volume can be defined with further exploration.

Teeling added: “Analysis shows that a mine on the Thorny River deposit could be profitable assuming positive results from additional exploration. Now we must refine the volume, grade and value estimates while working on the mining model.”

Meanwhile, drilling activity carried out at the Ontevreden project, a part of the Vutomi joint venture, confirmed the presence of a kimberlite pipe.

However, Botswana Diamonds has now plans of further work as the kimberlite pipe was found to be smaller than previously expected.