Botswana Diamonds reports project development progress

8th December 2022 By: Tasneem Bulbulia - Senior Contributing Editor Online

Aim-listed Botswana Diamonds (BOD) believes there are big opportunities for diamond exploration and development in South Africa and the company is focusing on what it considers the best opportunities available to the company.

The company on December 8 reported its results for the financial year ended June 30, 2022, highlighting its increased stake in the Maibwe joint venture, in Botswana, and that it has taken its Thorny River project, in South Africa, to mining application stage.

The Thorny River venture, on which it has spent considerable time and money, is likely to begin production next year.

Thorny River is a kimberlite dyke system which BOD has demonstrated to be an extension of the Marsfontein and Klipspringer mines. Exploration has identified two deposits which between them contain up to two-million tonnes. The company expects the grade to be between 46 carats per hundred tonnes (chpt) and 74 cpht of good-quality diamonds.

It has applied for mining permits, which it expects will be issued by mid-2023.

BOD is working through development options on the discovery. It has a proposal from a contractor that would provide all mining and processing equipment in return for a percentage interest. This is being evaluated and considered as a potential viable option.

Mining is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2023 on the Marsfontein waste dumps. BOD mined here previously, but without success. The company says it has identified the causes and that a new plan should overcome the previous mining issues.

Thorny River or Marsfontein are expected to provide cash flow to make BOD a diamond producer.

In recent months, BOD has been awarded a licence on the Reivilo ground, which it highlights as a licence of great interest, containing kimberlite pipe.

The company has obtained a databank on Reivilo from London-listed Petra Diamonds in return for a small royalty. It is reviewing this data and plans on processing Petra’s drill core for microdiamonds in the near future.

BOD is focused on the Kaapvaal craton in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The principle focus during the period under review was the attempt to acquire the Ghaghoo mine, in Botswana. The company says the mine had a short, unsuccessful history and undertook a study to see if it could improve operational efficiencies, which it believes it can.

It is still seeking a partner on this.

What makes Ghaghoo attractive is a large deposit of good-quality diamonds and a fully built plant and infrastructure. The government has also been helpful from a regulatory perspective, BOD outlines.

BOD owns the KX36 discovery to the south of Ghaghoo, acquiring this diamond deposit as part of the acquisition of Sekaka Diamonds, a subsidiary of Petra Diamonds.

It is estimated the deposit holds up to 24-million tonnes containing up to 76 cpht.

BOD holds exploration licences surrounding KX36 where it expects there should be additional kimberlites as it is rare to find one isolated kimberlite. It also holds a 26% interest in the Maibwe kimberlites to the south of KX36.

On the company’s wholly-owned licences in Sunland Minerals, it identified 200 priority targets. It has narrowed this to eight targets that need to be further explored and drilled.

BOD increased its stake in the Maibwe joint venture (JV) to 50% by acquiring a stake from the liquidator of BCL in Botswana, and agreed a 2% royalty on any future production. There are four kimberlite pipes on the licence, and a drill programme is required.

BOD highlights the potential of Zimbabwe to be significant diamond producer. BOD has maintained contacts in the country.

The company says there was a JV with Vast that did not bring about results. The company is now actively involved in discussions on a possible entry, and this coming to fruition is dependent on the ground offered and on the JV terms.

In recent years, BOD has been funded by a small group of private investors as little or no funding was available in London or Johannesburg, it outlines.

“Our strategy is clear. To have a pipeline project at every stage of development. Our first production will come on stream in the near future. We have a number of projects where diamond deposits already exist. We have drill ready exploration projects. Our task now is to get our message out to investors,” the company states.