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MEI Online: Commodities: Non-Metallic Ores: Diamond: Latest News: April 5th 2006


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:: Award of New Diamond Projects Valued in Excess of US$32m

Bateman is pleased to announce the award of new contracts valued in excess of US$32 million for the upgrade of major diamond-processing facilities in Southern Africa. The contracts comprise a US$13 million project to double-up processing throughput at the Damtshaa Mine in Botswana, for the Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd ("Debswana"); and an US$18 million project to upgrade a diamond treatment facility in Oranjemund, Namibia, for Namdeb Diamond Corporation (Pty) Limited. A pre-feasibility study has also been awarded by Debswana on the replacement of the main treatment plant at their flagship mine, Jwaneng, west of Gaborone, Botswana.

Both Debswana and Namdeb are owned in equal shares by De Beers Centenary AG and the governments of Botswana and Namibia respectively. Debswana is the world's leading producer of diamonds by value. Its Jwaneng mine, established in 1982, is the richest diamond mine in the world, producing approximately 10% of the world's diamonds by value.

The contract at Damtshaa Mine in Botswana will double the existing processing plant's throughput from 200 t/h to 400 t/h of kimberlite ore by essentially providing a second processing stream. The plant, which will be fully automated and economical to operate, is scheduled to be commissioned in the last quarter of 2006. Bateman was responsible for the existing Damtshaa plant, commissioned in 2002 and designed to be readily upgradeable.

The Namdeb contract concerns upgrading an existing diamond treatment facility in Namibia which re-treats tailings dump material. The dump contains about 24M t of tailings accumulated during the past 30 years of diamond mining in the area. As the diamond-recovery processes used previously were not as efficient as today, these dumps contain meaningful amounts of small diamonds and possibly also a quantity of larger stones.

The project arises out of a feasibility study completed by Bateman in October 2005 that revealed a positive business case could be made for the upgrade. It is one of several projects to recover diamonds from tailings dumps at older mines in which the De Beers group has involved Bateman as part of the new partnership model between the companies introduced towards the end of 2003.




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