Johannesburg - The world's leading diamond company De Beers announced on Friday a R20bn investment in a new South African diamond mine that will begin production in 2021.
The underground mine is beneath the currently operating open pit Venetia Mine in northern Limpopo Province.
"The development and build phase of the underground mine is expected to create 1 000 jobs over the next nine years while open pit mining operations continue," De Beers said in a statement.
The company estimates that the new mine will yield 96 million carats of diamonds and secure 3 000 jobs, for both skilled and semi-skilled workers.
The bulk of all equipment and services will be sourced in South Africa.
Philippe Mellier‚ CEO of De Beers said‚ “Our investment in
Venetia enables us to provide greater certainty around long-term supply for our
Sightholders‚ particularly those with manufacturing operations in South Africa.
Our Sightholders have significant investments in the local cutting industry and
this new underground mine will provide a large and predictable supply of rough
diamonds for decades to come.
“It is fitting that De Beers is celebrating its 125th
anniversary this year. From our founding in Kimberley in 1888 to today’s announcement
at Venetia‚ South Africa has always been the ancestral heart of De Beers. It is
gratifying that today’s announcement means that De Beers will remain South
Africa’s leading diamond company until at least our 150th anniversary.”
Barend Petersen‚ chairperson of De Beers Consolidated Mines
said: “We see this significant capital investment as another concrete example
of our commitment to the South African mining industry‚ an industry on which
the South African economy was built following the discovery of diamonds in
1866. Almost 150 years later‚ the country is a diverse economy‚ while mining
remains an integral part of the aspiration to build a more prosperous and
equitable South Africa.”
De Beers, founded in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes, has been run by Oppenheimer family members or trusted associates since the late 1920s.
It mines and sells around 35% of the world's diamonds.