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De Beers Commits $2.3 Billion to Expand Diamond Mine

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, plans to invest about 20 billion rand ($2.3 billion) to build an underground mine beneath its existing Venetia open-pit operation in South Africa.

The investment will extend Venetia’s economic life until 2042 and eventually replace the open pit as South Africa’s largest diamond mine, the company said yesterday in a statement. De Beers, which is 85 percent-owned by Anglo American Plc, said it received regulatory approvals earlier this month.

Construction of the mine in Limpopo Province will create about 1,000 jobs, De Beers said. It forecasts underground output to begin in 2021, yielding about 96 million carats during the mine’s life.

Venetia is probably one of the world’s top five diamond deposits, De Beers Chief Executive Officer Phillip Barton said in November.

Anglo American, based in London, is scheduled to release its latest earnings today.

Botswana owns the other 15 percent of De Beers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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