Debswana recovers largest diamond in its 52 year history

Picture used for illustration

Debswana has recovered a 1,098 carat diamond, the largest gem quality diamond ever recovered in its 52 year history. The diamond is also the fifth largest diamond ever recovered in history of mining.

The diamond, which was recovered on the 1st of June 2021 from south kimberlite pipe at Jwaneng Mine, will be presented to President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his cabinet on Wednesday.

The diamond becomes the third largest diamond ever recovered in Botswana following the historic recoveries of 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona and 1,758 Sewelô from the Karowe mine in Botswana in November 2015, and April 2019 respectively.  

Karowe mine in Letlhakane, Boteti region in Botswana, is owned and operated by Canadian company, Lucara Diamond Corporation.

Lesedi La Rona was sold for US$53 million (US$47,777 per carat) to Graff Diamonds while in January 2020 it was announced that Louis Vuitton had purchased Sewelô for an undisclosed sum.

Jwaneng Mine, where the latest 1,098 carat diamond was recovered is the richest diamond mine in the world by value. The Jwaneng pipe was discovered in the Naledi River Valley Southern, Botswana, in 1972.

The mine became fully operational in August 1982, when it was officially commissioned by the then President of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire.

Jwaneng Mine is the flagship of Debswana due to substantially higher dollar per carat obtained for its gems. Jwaneng Mine contributes about 60-70% of Debswana’s total revenue.

Currently Jwaneng is mining to a depth of 400 metres and is expected to surpass 624 metres by 2022.

The resource consists of three separate volcanic pipes/vents namely; north, south and centre pipes (two additional small kimberlite bodies have also been intersected within the pit).

The pipes erupted through Transvaal strata and the overlying Karoo sediments ~245 million years ago.

Production at Jwaneng Mine normally varies according to mining plans of approximately 12.5 to 15 million carats per year.

In 2014, Jwaneng produced 11 312 279 carats. This excellent rate of recovery, combined with the very high quality of the diamonds, continues to make Jwaneng Mine the richest diamond mine in the world, by value.

Debswana Diamond Company was established in 1969 and it is owned in equal shares by the Government of the Republic of Botswana and The De Beers Group of Companies.

It is one of the world’s leading diamond producers by value and volume. Debswana operates four diamond mines in Orapa, Letlhakane, Damtshaa and Jwaneng.

Debswana is a major contributor to the national economy of Botswana – contributing significantly to the gross domestic product, foreign exchange earnings and government revenue. It is one of the largest private sector employers, with over 5200 employees.

Debswana is also the biggest contributor to the De Beers Group rough diamond production.

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