Diamond explorer Botswana Diamonds (BOD) in March announced, in its interim statement and financial results for the six months ended December 31, 2022, that
BOD’s current Botswanan activities are in the under-explored Kalahari.
BOD is a diamond explorer in sub-Saharan Africa with startup diamond production in South Africa. The miner is “one of the most active players in this field and offers one of the few high-potential opportunities to invest in junior diamond exploration in Africa.
Negotiations with the receiver of former Botswana copper producer BCL allowed Siseko (of which BOD owns 51%) and BOD’s local partner Future Minerals to acquire 50% each of the ten prospecting licences in the central Kalahari. Diamonds were confirmed in earlier drilling.
Given the Kalahari’s potential, BOD allowed certain low potential licences to expire.
“Prevailing circumstances during 2022 complicated our efforts to secure a new joint venture partner to acquire the Ghaghoo mine, which is close to our KX36 project. This fully equipped diamond mine was placed on care and maintenance by the owner Gem Diamonds,” states BOD chairperson John Teeling.
There now seems renewed market interest in Ghaghoo, and BOD will report as appropriate.
Further, BOD has also expanded its additional stake in the prospective Malibwe concession.
Despite global political and economic turbulence, diamond prices have been resilient. The miner reports that the US is an outlier with growing diamond jewellery sales. It notes that expected growth in Asian markets has been disrupted, but long-term trends remain positive.
Teeling adds that supply disruptions have supported prices, even with Russian diamond miner Alrosa – the world’s largest diamond producer by volume – continuing to supply diamonds, and though more smaller diamonds could hit the market.
Diamonds from Botswana and South Africa, where BOD operates, tend on average to be larger and of higher quality.
“The industry is in a period of adjustment, as laboratory-grown diamonds find their market niche as an entry-level ‘value’ diamond for those not yet able to afford the real thing.”
The resale value, however, of nonnatural diamonds shows that they constitute a separate segment.
Teeling cited the automotive industry, noting that while it offers “excellent economy and midpriced cars”, luxury car sales still grow. There will be consumer room for both.
“Natural diamonds are more than compressed carbon. Owning them represents a mix of human emotions, aspirations and feelings. Diamonds are forever.”
In January, BOD raised £350 000 new capital through the exercise of outstanding warrants. The cash came from a small group of investors, including directors.
Assuming operational success, royalties from BOD’s Marsfontein and Thorny River operations are expected to fully fund ongoing activities by the end of this year.
“Recent years have been difficult for junior diamond explorers with little new cash available. But without exploration there can be no new mines, and most new greenfield discoveries are made by juniors,” Teeling notes.
“Botswana Diamonds has raised money and prospected for ten years with some limited success to date; most of our early- stage investors continue to support new funding efforts and I hope that their loyalty can be rewarded shortly,” he concludes.