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Botswana Diamonds’ Kimberlite Find Unviable

Ontevreden pipe proves smaller than expected, but two other South Africa projects show potential.
Jun 6, 2018 7:17 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Botswana Diamonds will not continue exploration of the Ontevreden pipe in South Africa, after discovering it was smaller than previously expected, it said Wednesday.

“Modern mineral exploration technology is not a magic bullet,” said chairman John Teeling. “Modern geophysics indicated a 0.7-hectare pipe at Ontevreden.Our drilling confirmed a smaller pipe, which is not currently commercial.”

Research by the University of Johannesburg showed that the site’s rock displayed characteristics typically present in high-grade kimberlite pipes, the company said in October.

However, though further drilling of the resource confirmed it contained kimberlite, it was not enough to make the project viable for full-scale operation.

The miner plans to focus on two other South African projects. Botswana Diamonds has been awarded a prospecting license for the Mooikloof asset, adjacent to the Oaks mine — which De Beers owned, and close to another De Beers mine —Venetia.

Mooikloof was last prospected in 1986, yet Botswana Diamonds believes it was underestimated at the time and is still commercially viable.

The miner has also received its technical evaluation of the Thorny River project. The results show the deposit holds between 1.2 million and 2 million tons of kimberlite, estimated to be worth between $120 and $220 per carat.

“Significant progress has been made on our joint-venture projects in South Africa,” Teeling said. “We are pleased to finally be awarded the Mooikloof concession.... The pipe is historically estimated at 2.5 hectares in size, and contains diamonds.”

The company will reassess the pipe using recently developed exploration techniques, he explained.

“Analysis shows that a mine on the Thorny River deposit could be profitable, assuming positive results from additional exploration,” Teeling added.
Tags: Botswana Diamonds, De Beers, John Teeling, kimberlite, Mooikloof, Oaks mine, Ontevreden, Ontevreden pipe, Rapaport News, Thorny River, University of Johannesburg, venetia
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