Openpit mining is the most common method of recovering its diamonds, says international diamond company De Beers, which operates several opencast mines in Africa, namely South Africa and Botswana.
De Beers Consolidated Mines, which was established in 1888, is South Africa’s largest rough diamond producer, with two openpit mining operations – Venetia, in Limpopo, where the company is constructing an underground mine, and Voorspoed, in the Free State. It also has surface diamond recovery operations at its Kimberley diamond mine, in the Northern Cape.
In Botswana, De Beers has been in a 50/50 joint venture with the country’s government, Debswana, owing to the country’s mineral-rich, specifically diamond-rich resources, since 1978. Debswana’s main aim is said to become part of the fabric of Botswana, enabling it to unlock the potential of its resources and harness this to support its economy.
This public–private partnership led to Botswana transforming its predominantly agricultural economy into a nation with one of the highest economic growth rates in the world, says Debswana.
There are four openpit mines operated by Debswana in Botswana, namely Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa.