Historical diamond tailings left across Kimberley, in the Northern Cape, by major miner De Beers Consolidated Mines continue to hold significant potential for diamond extraction, owing to technological advances made in ore treatment.
Acquired in 2015 by investor consortium Ekapa Minerals (comprising mining company Ekapa Mining and diamond miner Petra Diamonds), pioneering assets have been combined into one entity through the joining of Ekapa’s Super Stone operations and Petra Diamonds’ Kimberley Underground operation to form the Kimberley Ekapa Mining joint venture.
Over the last few years, De Beers has explored various options to extend the life of its Kimberley Mines operations beyond 2018. The company concluded that the best way to secure a future for Kimberley Mines was to find an operator better suited to process the remaining resources in a long-term and sustainable way, ensuring continuation of employment and economic activity.
De Beers chairperson Barend Petersen says
the decision to sell to Ekapa Minerals was predicated on its experience as a local tailings mineral resource operator with sound technical, financial and economic capability, as well as strong corporate social responsibility credentials, including a real and ongoing commitment to the Kimberley area.
The respective operations – Petra Diamonds’ Kimberley Underground mines, Ekapa Mining’s tailings operations through Super Stone Mining and Kimberley Mines Forum, as well as Kimberley Mines tailings operations previously owned by De Beers – introduced numerous tailings producing deposits in Kimberley, as well as a six-million-ton-a-year combined treatment plant, which is capable of processing ore from both run-of-mine and tailings sources.