Diamond Mines of the World Botswana
Botswanan Diamond Mines
Jwaneng Diamond Mine
Jwaneng (meaning "a place of small stones") is the richest diamond mine in the world when measured by value of recovered diamonds. The Jwaneng Diamond Mine is located in south-central Botswana about 100 miles west of the city of Gaborone, in the Naledi river valley of the Kalahari Desert. The mine began operations in 1982, and is co-owned by De Beers and the Botswanan government under the name 'Debswana Diamond Company.'
Jwaneng is an open pit mine dug over three kimberlite pipes that converge near the surface. The mine has a very high extraction rate, producing 9.3 million tons of kimberlite ore per year at a ratio of 1.25 carats of diamond per ton. In 2003, the mine produced 14.3 million carats of rough, high-quality diamonds. As of 2005, known reserves will produce at current levels for 27 more years. The Jwaneng mine employs over 2,100 workers.
Jwaneng is the first Botswanan to receive ISO 14001 certification for environmental compliance and has maintained a 5 star NOSA safety rating since 1986. The mine has won multiple national and international safety awards since its inception.
Botswana is a relatively wealthy African country, and has had one of the fastest per-capita income growth rates in the world. Botswana gained its independence in 1966 and has had strong ties to the economy of South Africa for several decades. Botswana's history of diamond mining is commemorated on the 20 and 100 Pula bank notes (below).
There are three additional diamond mines of significance in Botswana. The Lethakane Mine ("little reeds") open pit mine is the second oldest of Botswana's four mines. The Orapa Mine ("resting place for lions") open-pit mine is the oldest of Botswana's mines, located along the 'Orapa Kimberlite Track,' near the boarder with Zimbabwe. The Damtshaa Mine ("water for a tortoise") open pit mine is the other significant mine in Botswana.
AK6 Diamond Mine
De Beers is expecting to have Botswana's first new diamond mine in nearly 26 years, operational by 2008. The AK6 kimberlite deposit is expected to produce up to 1.5 million carats a year.