De Beers is showing it is strongly of the opinion that the Northern Cape could reveal undiscovered diamond deposits. It has applied for 52 prospecting rights in the area. Diamond experts have been saying for years that SA is underexplored and the application of modern exploration techniques could uncover deep-buried kimberlite pipes. Kimberley’s "big hole" yielded 2.7t of diamonds over 40 years and was the foundation of the De Beers empire. Since it announced last year it would be putting its Voorspoed mine up for sale, the group has only one operating mine in SA, Venetia in Limpopo. It mines most of its diamonds in Botswana. But it’s not yet certain that De Beers will resume exploration around Kimberley. In October last year, Phillip Barton, CEO of the group’s SA subsidiary, De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), said it might have to go to court to compel the department of mineral resources to process its applications, following lengthy delays. The group suspended its R45m exploratio...

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