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MEI Online: Commodities: Non-Metallic Ores: Diamond: Latest News: October 22nd 2004


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:: De Beers hopes to Extend Life of Kimberley Mines

South African diamond giant De Beers plans to extend the life of its historic Kimberley mines by excavating spoil heaps left by previous generations of miners.

Three deep underground mines still operate in the Northern Cape province city of Kimberley, where diamonds have been dug since the 1860s, but the company says supply is becoming exhausted and they will all likely have shut within a decade.

De Beers says the focus at Kimberley will shift to a new Combined Treatment Plant (CTP) programme, which can sift through the rubble excavated in the past, to find diamonds that were missed when excavation originally took place.

"The diamond reserves are not an infinite resource. One of the mines may shut as early as 2006," De Beers spokeswoman Suzette Plantema told Reuters.

"The CTP will extend the life of the Kimberley mines. We're looking at probably around 20 to 30 years," she said.




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