BSE-listed diamond explorer Botswana Diamonds reports that a mining permit covering the diamond bearing gravels and residual unprocessed stockpiles surrounding the iconic Marsfontein Mine has been granted to its associate Vutomi Mining.
Vutomi Mining, in which Botswana Diamonds owns has a 40% stake, has partnered with Eurafrican Diamond Corporation (EDC) to mine and process the identified deposits on both Marsfontein and Thorny River.
Chairperson John Teeling explained that EDC has commenced with site establishment, and commissioning is expected to commence within the next two weeks with production ramping-up once commissioning is complete. Cash flows from Marsfontein will be used to fund ongoing exploration work in Botswana and South Africa.
The Marsfontein mine, which comprises a kimberlite blow, was operated for two years in the late 1990s with a pay-back of its entire development cost in less than four days. Marsfontein’s run of mine grade was 172cpht (at a bottom cut off of +1.2mm), and its assortment was known to contain fancy coloured diamonds.
Evaluation work on the gravels and residual stockpiles adjacent to and surrounding the mine, conducted at the time of mining, indicated them to be diamondiferous with favourable economics. These deposits were overlooked when the mine was closed.