As Botswana’s first underground diamond mine, the Ghaghoo mine has showcased Gem Diamonds’ ability to add value to existing assets through technical innovation. By pursuing an underground mining option, the Group achieved significant cost savings, reduced its potential environmental impact and has served to pave the way for a new era of mining in challenging mining conditions (including deposits covered with significant overburden). This point was reinforced by the President of Botswana when he officiated the opening of the Ghaghoo mine in September 2014.
Gem Diamonds is developing Ghaghoo in a phased approach. The first phase is aimed at confirming diamond grades and prices, as well as testing different mining and processing techniques. In subsequent phases, production will be increased as appropriate in a cost effective manner.
The mine is currently in Phase 1 with the capital project complete and commissioning progressing well. As at 31 December 2014, 48 023 tonnes of ore had been treated, with 10 167 carats recovered, including a 20 carat white diamond, a 17 carat white diamond, and a three carat orange diamond (the recovery of which confirms the presence of valuable coloured diamonds in the orebody). After year end, a 35 carat diamond was recovered, which is the largest diamond recovered at Ghaghoo to date. The first tender of 10 167 carats was held in February of 2015, following viewings held in Gaborone and Antwerp and achieved US$210 per carat. As is usual in the development of the marketing of a new mine’s production, it will take at least six months of tender sales and the subsequent sale of the polished diamonds by clients, in order for a reliable average price to emerge. As part of the mine’s Phase 1 plan, a production rate of approximately 60 000 tonnes per month is expected to be achieved by mid-2015.
Focus for 2015
- Continue the transition of processes and systems from the project phase to operations phase
- Continue ramping-up mining and production to nameplate capacity and maintain a focus on sustaining those levels. (Production is expected to ramp-up to reach steady state during the first half of 2015).
- Optimise the processing plant
- Advance the decline to open up Level 2 in 2015
- Increase the number carats for sale and the frequency of tenders held
(An initial sale of 10 096 carats took place in Gaborone and Antwerp during February 2015.
As part of the Gem Diamonds commitment to sustainable development and minimising the impact on the environments that we operate in, we undertook an extensive study to analyse the possible impacts on the social and natural environment surrounding the Ghaghoo Diamond Mine.