Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Botswana Diamonds is working hard on three exploration projects in SA and two in Botswana, while carefully assessing bolt-on diamond projects in both countries and further afield.

Botswana Diamonds, which is listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market and the Botswana bourse, combines two of the industry’s most experienced veterans, James Campbell and John Teeling.

Campbell, who spent decades at De Beers, largely in exploration, is the CEO of the exploration company, which has signed a memorandum of understanding to enter Zimbabwe to explore for diamonds. Teeling chaired African Diamonds, which worked closely with De Beers on a big diamond deposit in Botswana.

Campbell was also at one time CEO of African Diamonds.

Botswana Diamonds’ strategy was to hunt for kimberlites in areas where they had been found and mined before, but the company was more than willing to assess operating or suspended mining operations provided there’s an economic argument to be made for them, Campbell said.

Botswana Diamonds has three prospects in SA which Philip Barton, the CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines, the South African subsidiary of the world’s largest rough diamond producer by value, has described as "highly prospective" and which is attracting fresh exploration work with modern techniques. "Our philosophy in SA and Botswana is to go back to areas that were previously mined for diamonds and deploy modern exploration techniques. Kimberlites are usually found in clusters so those would be the best places to start looking for them," Campbell said on the sidelines of the 2018 Junior Indaba.

The most advanced of the three areas is known as Thorny River near Mokopane in Limpopo, an area where De Beers operated the Marsfontein diamond mine and which Campbell knows well.

Botswana Diamonds is in the early stage of talks with Cape Town-based SLA Capital which owns mothballed Klipspringer diamond mine, to see what opportunities there were to work together, he said.

Among the opportunities that Botswana Diamonds could consider would be the Voorspoed diamond mine that De Beers has put up for sale in the Free State.