The board of Debswana Diamond Company, a joint venture between De Beers Group and the Botswana Government, has approved a $1bn (P13.6bn) investment in the Jwaneng underground project in Botswana.

This investment will facilitate the mine’s shift from open-pit to underground operations.

It aims to extend the mine’s life by accessing deeper diamond deposits.

The funds allocated for the Exploration Access Development Phase will establish a drilling platform for sampling the kimberlite pipes, create an early access decline for the underground mine and develop infrastructure for future project stages.

Initial works are set to commence in May following the completion of feasibility studies.

The Jwaneng mine, operational since 1982, has a production average of nearly 11 million carats annually.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData

This transition to underground mining is expected to secure the mine’s long-term future, especially in the context of a tightening long-term diamond supply.

The project will unfold in two additional phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2 mining, post the Exploration Access Development stage.

These phases are designed to sustain the mine’s production over an extended period. Currently, the mine employs 2,100 permanent staff and 3,200 contractors.

The successful implementation of the Jwaneng underground project, subject to future Debswana Board approvals, is anticipated to create new job opportunities and continue Debswana’s significant contribution to the economy of Botswana.

De Beers Group CEO and Debswana deputy board chairman Al Cook said: “Jwaneng stands proudly as the world’s greatest diamond mine. It is a central pillar of both the Botswana economy and the De Beers Group business.

“The global supply of natural diamonds is falling, so moving forward with the Jwaneng Underground Project creates new value for investors, brings new technology to the country, creates new skills for our workforce and provides new gems for customers around the world.

“This investment is aligned with our strategy to prioritise investments in the highest-quality projects. We are proud to work in partnership with the Botswana Government in creating a bright future for Debswana.”

In March last year, Debswana and Huawei unveiled what they claim is the world’s first 5G-oriented smart diamond mine project.

The smart diamond mine project was announced at the Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2023 conference.