Orapa mine's new lease of life

Study underway for Debswana’s Cut-3 project

A detailed study is underway on Orapa Mine’s Cut-3 project, which is hoped could prolong the mine’s existence by an additional 35 years.

This was revealed by Debswana’s Managing Director, Albert Milton, as the diamond company toasted half-a-century of existence at the weekend.

LOOKING AHEAD: Albert Milton

According to Milton, through the project, the company will create more job opportunities and raise productivity to never-before seen levels.

Earlier this year, Debswana, a 50/50 joint venture between the government of Botswana and De Beers, commenced their Cut-9 project in Jwaneng Mine following the elapse of Cut-8 last December.

With an investment of around P24 billion, the Cut-9 project is expected to yield 52 million carats over the course of its lifespan, which has been extended to 2035.

Meanwhile, Debswana successfully celebrated turning 50 despite the milestone event being slightly marred by threats from employees demanding a bonus.

The company had scheduled three celebrations in Gaborone, Jwaneng and Orapa.

However, the celebrations were nearly disrupted by the demonstrations of disgruntled employees, who demanded P10, 000 in bonuses instead of the wrist-watches and necklaces they been offered by the company.

Notwithstanding, the company’s contribution to the local economy was highlighted by both Debswana and De Beers officials.

“With the production of 24million carats in 2018, nearly a quarter of the world’s entire annual production, today Debswana is the cornerstone of our national economy, contributing 80 percent to Botswana’s export earnings, approximately 20 percent to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and close to 40 percent to Government revenues,” emphasised Milton.

The company is said to employ around 13, 000 personnel, inclusive of contractors.

For his part, De Beers CEO, Bruce Cleaver, who is also Debswana board Chairperson, described the joint venture as one of the world’s most successful Public-Private Partnerships.

“In the 50 years that this partnership has been in place, we are proud to have become part of the fabric of Botswana’s society. The equal shares we hold in Debswana represent the shared interests we have in each others ongoing success,” said Cleaver.