DE BEERS TO INVEST US$2B TO BUILD NEW UNDERGROUND MINE
(The following is a reformatted version of a press release issued by The De Beers Group of Companies and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)
DE BEERS COMMITS MAJOR CAPITAL INVESTMENT TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF SOUTH AFRICA’S LARGEST DIAMOND MINE
Johannesburg, 14 February 2013: The De Beers Group of Companies announced today that it will invest approximately R20 billion (US$2 billion) to build a new underground mine beneath the currently operating open pit Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province. When completed, the new underground mine will extend the life of Venetia until 2042 and replace the open pit as South Africa’s largest diamond mine. This announcement follows the receipt of the final outstanding regulatory clearances earlier this month.
The development and build phase of the underground mine is expected to create 1,000 jobs over the next nine years while open pit mining operations continue. Underground operations will begin production in 2021, yielding approximately 96 million carats during the life of the mine, and securing more than 3,000 jobs. The project will employ semi-skilled and skilled workers, drawn primarily from the region and trained for the project; mostly acquiring technical skills that will enhance the country’s technical skill resource base. The bulk of all equipment and services will be sourced in South Africa. Philippe Mellier, CEO of the De Beers Group commented, “Our investment in Venetia enables us to provide greater certainty around long-term supply for our Sightholders, particularly those with manufacturing operations in South Africa. Our Sightholders have significant investments in the local cutting industry and this new underground mine will provide a large and predictable supply of rough diamonds for decades to come. Mr Mellier continued, “It is fitting that De Beers is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. From our founding in Kimberley in 1888 to today’s announcement at Venetia, South Africa has always been the ancestral heart of De Beers. It is gratifying that today’s announcement means that De Beers will remain South Africa’s leading diamond company until at least our 150th anniversary.”
Barend Petersen, Chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM) commented, “We see this significant capital investment as another concrete example of our commitment to the South African mining industry, an industry on which the South African economy was built following the discovery of diamonds in 1866. Almost 150 years later, the country is a diverse economy, while mining remains an integral part of the aspiration to build a more prosperous and equitable South Africa.”
Phillip Barton, CEO of DBCM stated, “The De Beers Venetia Underground project team have been assessing the safest and most economic options to extend the mining operations at Venetia Mine, and unlock the extensive ore reserves beneath the open pit. Venetia will play a major role in the future of De Beers and we have therefore been preparing for years to meet tight deadlines and high standards so that Venetia Underground is ready to begin producing South African diamonds by 2021.”
The Venetia Mine underground project was approved in 2012 by the De Beers and Anglo American Boards. Environmental authorisation was granted in July 2012, and the Environmental Management Plan was approved by the Department of Mineral Resources in October. The final outstanding regulatory clearances were obtained earlier this month.
Ownership of De Beers: 85 percent Anglo American plc group and 15 percent Republic of Botswana
In South Africa, De Beers operates through De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), a 74/26 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partnership with Ponahalo Holdings. DBCM manages Venetia Mine, Voorspoed Mine and the Kimberley tailings dumps, and is in the process of selling Namaqualand Mines and the Rooipoort Mining Right to consortiums with strong BEE credentials.
Contact Johannesburg Tom Tweedy O: +27 (0)11 374 7173 / 7566 M: +27 (0)83 308 0083 Tom.Tweedy@debeersgroup.com
London Lynette Gould O: +44 (0) 207 430 3509 M: +44 (0) 7740 393260 Lynette.Gould@debeersgroup.com
About De Beers Group of Companies De Beers is a member of the Anglo American plc group. Established in 1888, De Beers is the world’s leading diamond company with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers employs more than 23,000 people across the diamond pipeline, and is the world’s largest diamond producer, by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. As part of the company’s operating philosophy, the people of De Beers are committed to Living up to Diamonds by making a lasting contribution to the communities in which they live and work, and transforming natural resources into shared national wealth. For further information about De Beers visit www.debeersgroup.com.