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De Beers mines first diamonds from Venetia underground

Johannesburg, South Africa – De Beers Group announced late last month that it has recovered the first diamonds from the $2.2 billion underground expansion at its Venetia mine in South Africa, a project that is expected to extend the mine’s life by more than 20 years.

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The underground portion of Venetia consists of two ore bodies known as K01 and K02. De Beers expects them to produce a combined 4.5 to 5.5 million carats of diamonds annually, making them one of the company’s most important assets worldwide.

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K01, the larger of the two orebodies, will provide the bulk of production, averaging 3.5 million carats from approximately 4.5 million tonnes of material per year.

The remainder, approximately 1 million carats from 1.5 to 2.5 million tonnes of material, will come from K02.
De Beers began work on the underground expansion at Venetia in 2012 and says it is now 70 per cent complete.

Construction and production ramp-up will continue over the next few years, with the project extending Venetia’s life to at least 2046.

Venetia, De Beers’ only remaining diamond mine in South Africa following the closure of Voorspoed a few years ago, opened in 1992. Open-pit operations at the mine ceased last year.

De Beers says the $2 billion it is spending underground at Venetia is the largest single investment in the country’s diamond mining industry in decades.

The underground project currently employs 4,300 people, mostly from the local communities of Musina and Blouberg.

De Beers commissioned the construction of a $10.5 million training centre in June 2021 to transition the mine’s people, processes and systems from an open pit to an underground operation.

The company says it has successfully trained and transitioned 180 people to date, with no job losses among the mine’s permanent workforce.

Moses Madondo, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, said: “Investing in the undergrounding of the world-class Venetia mine adds long-term value to De Beers Group’s global production and demonstrates our commitment to South Africa.

“We look forward to seeing [Venetia’s] high-performing team continue the good work as we ramp up production over the next few years, bringing profound benefits to our employees, host communities, business partners and South Africa as a whole.”

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Alice
Alice
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