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New high value diamond mine in the offing

Publishing Date : 11 March, 2019

Author : TSAONE SEGAETSHO

Tsodilo Resources a Toronto Venture Stock Exchange (TVSE) listed exploration company operating in Botswana has hinted positive signals for its Orapa Kimberlite Fields work.


A high grade ore mine, unearthing top high value gem diamonds is in the offing, the company disclosed this week. Tsodilo Resources has been exploring and investigating samples at BK 16 Kimberlite deposits since 2015, and preliminary results show yet another diamond mine for Botswana after Lucara’s Karowe Mine.


 Information from Tsodilo reveals that the BK16 Kimberlite project located in the outposts of Boteti sub-district, adjacent to Debswana Orapa mine, is well placed to enter the market and generate millions of dollars for the company once the mine is established. Orapa Mine is Botswana’s flagship diamond mine by volume and one of the world’s prolific rough diamond extraction operations under mining giant De Beers Group.


In a presentation published by the company this week, Tsodilo stated that BK16 was already showing similarities to Lucara Diamond Corp’s Karowe diamond mine, in Botswana, as well as Petra Diamonds’ Koffiefontein mine, in South Africa’s Free State; BlueRock Diamonds’ Kareevlei mine, in South Africa’s Northern Cape; and Lucapa Diamond Company’s Mothae mine, in Lesotho. All of which are smaller carats output mine by volume but recovering high grade.BK16 is one of 85 known kimberlites in Botswana.


Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of Tsodilo Resources James Bruchs observed in the presentation that market prices of higher-quality diamonds are increasing on the back of increased demand, while diamond jewellery demand is also rising. Bruchs said BK16 is the most prospective of the kimberlites currently being evaluated in the Orapa kimberlite field.


 The project is currently in a sampling and test work phase, with a 15 000 t to 25 000 t bulk sampling programme planned either as a new surface dug sample boxcut or an extension of tunnels away from dilution zones, to get a better indication of the real grades. “Following the test work, we will get to work on a feasibility study that includes full engineering studies and the definition of mining parameters,” he said.


Stephen Coward, a renowned explorations expert who is offering geological consultancy services to Tsodilo says the process of sample acquisition and processing to recover diamonds is complex and could not be considered an assay, as is the case for many types of metallic mineral sampling. “This often results in material differences between the raw and diluted recovered grade from a set of samples and the true in situ grade of the target,” he said.


According to Coward the BK16 deposit has potential to host a coarse size diamond distribution, with the potential to contain high-value diamonds. Tsodilo completed 3 665 m of ore body delineation drilling in 2015, 3 668 m of pilot hole core drilling in 2017 and 3 120 m large diameter drilling to date. On the other side of the prospected site sits Karowe Mine which is well known for recovering  over 120 carat white gems. Karowe made history in 2015 by recovering  a colourless/white type 2  diamond weighing  1,111 carats  , around 222 grams   .measuring  65 mm × 56 mm × 40 mm.


The diamond, approximately of tennis ball size was registered as the third-largest diamond ever found, and the second-largest of gem quality. Only the non-gem black Sergio and the gem-quality Cullinan were larger. A day after the discovery, two more diamonds weighing 813 and 374 carats were found in the mine .Named Lesedi La Rona, the diamond was sold at US$53 million to a London based British multinational jeweler , which is  equivalent to approximately over BWP 500 million.


The BK 16 Kimberlite explorations and mining by Tsodilo Resources is also anticipated to unearth historic gems. De Beers which operates Botswana largest diamond mines initially discovered the deposit and defined a grade of 1.4 carats per hundred tonnes in the 1960s. Work on the BK 16 Kimberlite project stopped in 2008 owing to the grade being considered too low. However, Bruchs said it was under-sampled at the time, adding that the global economic crisis in 2008 also crushed the viability of the project as no funds were being availed by investors.

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