Debswana shuts down Lethlakane opencast mining operations

21st November 2016 By: African News Agency

GABORONE – Debswana Mining Company (DMC) has closed down its Lethlakane Open Pit diamond mine because it had reached the end of its lifespan.

Addressing the last parliamentary session in Gaborone late last week, Mineral Resources, Green Technologies and Energy Security minister Sadique Kebonang said the government had decided to shut down the mine.

Kebonang said the mine had reached depths which made it impossible to continue safe mining operations.

Instead, he said the government, which partly owns the mine through a joint venture partnership with De Beers, would now concentrate on reviving its tailings and dump treatment operations.

Kebonang said a detailed study to evaluate the economic viability of operating a tailings dump business in Lethlakane had just been concluded. Further, he said the tailings dump treatment plant would be commissioned within the first half of 2017.

The project would entail re-mining operations on the Lethlakane Mine Tailing Dump and a re-processing of the rock material discarded from past diamond extractions from the plant.

The mine has been operating a small-scale dump treatment project since 2011 while examining the viability of expanding the operations into the core business to save jobs and replace the open-cast mining business.