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JOHANNESBURG - De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, said yesterday that it was placing its Voorspoed mine in Kroonstad, Free State, up for sale, to give lower-cost operators the opportunity to potentially extend the mine’s operating life beyond 2020. 

Potential buyers are expected to prove a record of success technically and financially, and to meet all regulatory and social requirements while economically and sustainably operating the mine. 

De Beers Consolidated Mines, chief executive Phillip Barton, said: “I am very proud of the Voorspoed mine team, who have contributed so much to the operation’s success to date and ensured it has always operated to the highest standards of environmental and social performance. 

However, based on our experience with other operations, we believe the most responsible course of action is to give other lower-cost operators the opportunity to purchase the mine and potentially extend its life, as this will maximise the benefit for the community and the mine’s workers.” De Beers also operates the Venetia mine in Limpopo Province and has invested R20bn to take the mine underground.