De Beers, which will be down to a single mine in South Africa from 2020, has 54 exploration applications stuck with the Department of Mineral Resources, some for two years, and has suspended its R40m annual exploration budget in the country. The focus of De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), the South African subsidiary of De Beers, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds by value, is on bringing its $2bn Venetia mine into production and managing the transition from opencast mining to underground mining, minimising the anticipated dip in production at that time, said DBCM CEO Philip Barton. While De Beers has patiently pushed for the exploration licences to be approved having exhausted all its other exploration permits but it is now coming to a point where taking the Department of Mineral Resources to court is being considered as an option if talks with Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane yielded no progress, Barton said on the sidelines of the Joburg Indaba mining confe...

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