Botswana|Construction|Dewatering|Electrical|Energy|Engineering|Fabrication|Infrastructure|Mining|PROJECT|Surface|Underground|Waste|Water|Equipment|Shaft Sinking|Infrastructure|Waste|Operations
Botswana|Construction|Dewatering|Electrical|Energy|Engineering|Fabrication|Infrastructure|Mining|PROJECT|Surface|Underground|Waste|Water|Equipment|Shaft Sinking|Infrastructure|Waste|Operations

Karowe underground project, Botswana – update

Image of the Karowe mine

Photo by Lucara Diamond Corp

17th May 2024

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Karowe underground project (UGP).

North-central Botswana.

Project Owner/s
Lucara Diamond Corp.
Project Description
The currently operating Karowe openpit is a conventional load-and-haul operation, with operations expected to terminate in mid-2025 at an elevation of 713 metres above sea level (masl). 

The underground project will extend the Karowe mine’s life by 15 years and is designed to support a 2.7-million-tonne-a-year mining operation and processing plant, which will be focused on the South Lobe of the AK06 kimberlite.

The project will involve the extraction of an estimated 400 vertical metres of the South Lobe from 310 masl (700 m below surface) to the bottom of the depleted openpit about 710 masl (300 m below surface).

The project will include an 8.5 m finished internal-diameter production shaft about 767 m deep and equipped to hoist a nominal 7 400 t/d of ore and additional development waste; and a 6 m finished internal-diameter unequipped ventilation shaft with a planned final depth of 729 m.

Total life-of-mine diamond recoveries are estimated at 6.8-million carats.

Potential Job Creation
None stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Preproduction capital costs for the underground project are estimated at $683-million.

Planned Start/End Date
Capital will be expended over an eight-year preproduction construction and commissioning period until the second half of 2027. The project will ramp up to full production in the first quarter of 2028.

Latest Developments
A total of $17.9-million was spent on the project development, surface infrastructure and ongoing shaft sinking activities during the three months to March 31, 2024. 

During the quarter:

  • the ventilation shaft reached 426 m below collar, with a planned final depth of 731 m. 
  • the production shaft reached 449 m below collar, with a planned final depth of 765 m. 
  • the first shaft stations at the 670 level were engaged in lateral development at 348 m below collar (666 masl). The first lateral connection between the two shafts (670 level) was completed. electrical and dewatering sump excavation was completed, and the construction of equipment was conducted as a concurrent activity during shaft sinking.
  • the ventilation shaft was sunk 78 m, three probe hole covers were completed, 670 level station development continued and the initial winder kibble ropes were replaced. Total lateral development in the quarter was 141 m.
  • production shaft activities included sinking a total of 101 m, the completion of four probe hole covers, the lateral development on the 670 level station and replacement of the initial winder kibble ropes. A total of 26 m of lateral development was completed.
  • sinking and lateral development took place in the Thalbala mudstone and the Tlapana carbonaceous material. Water encountered in the core holes was derived from granites. A mini grout cover was completed in the production shaft and sinking continued.
  • construction of the permanent bulk air coolers at the production shaft continued, with completion expected in the second quarter of 2024. Planning for a surface dam for the water during production started.
  • detailed engineering and fabrication of the permanent men and materials winder continued, representing the last major component for the permanent winders.
  • tender documents for the underground lateral development work were prepared.
  • mining engineering advanced, with a focus on supporting shaft sinking, underground infrastructure engineering and finalising level plans.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
JDS Energy & Mining Inc (technical report) and UMS Group (design, construction, sinking and equipping contractor).

Contact Details for Project Information
Lucara Diamond Corp, tel +1 604 674 0272 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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