The first underground diamond mine has been officially opened in Botswana by London-listed diamond mining company, Gem Diamonds.
The new mine is located in Ghaghoo region, 258 km from Gabarone, the capital of Botswana.
Gem Diamonds says this is a significant milestone for the company as it looks forward to operating its second major producing diamond mine, in addition to the Letšeng mine in Lesotho.
Botswana president, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, was also present at the function and was pleased with the initiative. This mine was emerging as part of a new generation of diamond mines in Botswana: it will focus on ensuring high health and safety and social and environmental impacts to everyone, especially the workers.
Gem Diamonds Botswana MD, Haile Mphusu pointed out that mineworkers who work for 14 days on and seven days off, are currently being accommodated in tents, but the company is targeting to house one worker in one tent from up to five a tent currently by the end of the year.
The grade will first be confirmed as well as the diamond prices. The first phase will also involve confirming the use of recovery processes, including the use of autogenous milling, expected to increase diamond liberation.