De Beers is closing its Voorspoed mine after failing to find a suitable buyer for the 700,000-carats-a-year operation, but the department of mineral resources has stepped in to find a buyer before the end of August. De Beers used the services of Standard Bank to help it sell the open pit mine near Kroonstad in the Free State and letters were sent to more than 50 parties, including the operators of other diamond mines in SA. However, none was able to meet the criteria set by De Beers of having not only the financial capacity to run Voorspoed, but to invest in capital to expand the pit and add another five years of life.

De Beers also wanted a buyer with the technical ability, credentials and reputation to take over the mine. "Not one of the four final companies we were speaking to managed to meet all the criteria we set, so we’ve taken the decision to close Voorspoed," said Philip Barton, CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines, the South African subsidiary of De Beers. The mine has...

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