De Beers Group has decided to initiate the closure of Voorspoed mine in the South African Province Free State after failing to identify a suitable buyer for the diamond-mining operation.
The decision comes after the miner conducted an extensive disposal process, which involved a due diligence exercise on parties interested in the acquisition of the mine.
Voorspoed was opened in November 2008, with an expected operating life of mine of ten years.
De Beers Consolidated Mines CEO Phillip Barton said: “Our priority throughout the disposal process has always been the safety and wellbeing of our employees at Voorspoed Mine and we were committed to ensuring that any potential future operator would not only have the required technical and financial capability, but also values that are aligned with those of DBCM.
“Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify a bidder that met the necessary criteria and so we have reluctantly taken the decision to close the operation, in a responsible manner, as it is no longer economically viable for DBCM to operate the mine.
“We do not underestimate the impact this will have on Voorspoed Mine’s employees and we have put in place appropriate support structures.”
The company stated that it will work with relevant stakeholders, including employees, the union, host communities and the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), to proceed with the closure process.
Meanwhile, the DMR is embarking on a process to identify an operator capable of purchasing Voorspoed Mine by the end of this month.
De Beers’ operations in South Africa also include the Venetia mine in Limpopo Province.
It is investing $2bn in the Venetia underground mine project, which is designed to extend the operating life of the mine into the 2040’s.