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Shares in construction group Basil Read Holdings (BSR) jumped more than 7% in afternoon trade on the JSE on Wednesday after the group announced that its MAJWE mining joint venture had secured a five-year multibillion-rand mining service contract with Debswana Diamond Company in Botswana.

By 15:26 local time, shares in Basil Read had gained 7.18% or 85 cents to 12.69 rand on the JSE.

The contract is for the Cut 8 Phase 2 services at the Debswana diamond mine in Jwaneng, Botswana, and the five-year contract would commence in June.

MAJWE consists of joint venture partners, Basil Read Mining, the Leighton Group and Bothakga Burrow Botswana.

Basil Read said its order book following the award of this contract was valued at just under 10 billion rand.

Debswana is the world's largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations at Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa in Botswana. All of these mines use open-pit mining methods to extract their diamonds.

“MAJWE will provide mining services to deliver the Cut 8 Phase 2 contract, including mine scheduling, drill and blast, truck and shovel waste removal and one ore mining. Over the full term of the contract, MAJWE will move 156 million cubic metres of material,” Basil Read said.

Last month, the group reported a 16% rise in revenue to 5.4 billion rand for the year ended December 2010.

Diluted headline earnings per share dropped to 209.25c from 332.43 cents a year ago. Operating profit was down 5% to 408.7 million rand from 429.2 million rand in the previous corresponding period.

The group declared a final dividend of 30 cents per share, which, together with the interim dividend, amounted to 72 cents.

“A strong order book and equally strong relationships with clients, suppliers and subcontractors again enabled the group to manage these conditions effectively,” the company said, adding that its order book stood at 8.5 billion rand. - I-Net Bridge