Johannesburg - De Beers began the construction of a new underground mine under its open pit Venetia mine in Limpopo on Tuesday, the company said.
“The R20 billion investment will extend the life of Venetia beyond 2040 and replace the open pit as South Africa’s largest diamond mine,” the De Beers group of companies said in a statement.
“With underground production expected to commence in 2021, over its life, the mine will treat approximately 130 million tonnes of ore, containing an estimated 96 million carats.”
The mine would support over 8000 jobs directly and 5000 through the supply chain, which would benefit the South African economy.
Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American and chairman of the De Beers group, said Anglo American's roots were firmly in South Africa.
“Anglo American has invested nearly R200 billion in South Africa, emphasising our commitment and making a real difference for South Africa and all South Africans.
“The positive social impact of skills development, the acquisition of economically valuable experience and the potential to uplift rural and sometimes poorer communities is what exists here at the heart of Venetia.”
Philippe Mellier, chief executive of the De Beers group, said the decision to build an underground mine at Venetia was a vote of confidence by shareholders.
“With production set to continue into the 2040s, Venetia will support South Africa’s mining economy for generations to come,” he said. - Sapa