Botswana Diamonds (BOD) Executive Chairman John Teeling has told the Botswana investors that it is the right time for them to ‘be in diamonds’ as the diamonds prices trends is up following the worst global recession.
The charismatic Irish, who describes Botswana as Switzerland of Africa, says there are 650 million Chinese women who want diamonds and the 2 billion of global population will be in the middle class. “The Botswana diamonds are unique and incredibly hard to find. You are privileged to be part of the diamond industry,” Teeling briefed the investors after the annual Resources Conference.
“Botswana is very rare; it is an easy country to work in”. Botswana Diamonds has applied for 12 prospecting licenses and Teeling admitted it is difficult. Already, the company has three ongoing projects all in areas that are known to contain diamonds.
Teeling who founded African Diamonds, Kenmare Resources and Arcon says Botswana has an attractive geology and he remains bullish on striking gems as the team behind BOD is the one that discovered the world newest producing mine, Karowe in the Orapa Cluster. The 1 million carats mine was built cheaply compared to previous projections from previous license holders.
The mine which was previously called AK6 was sold by Botswana Diamonds in 2010 to Lundin Group. Karowe mine was recently in the news as it produced many exceptional stones, including the 239ct stone, other white stones and some very rare blue stones. “Karowe is a wonderful mine and a good edition to Botswana,” said Teeling. “The directors of BOD believe that there are more diamond mines to be discovered in Botswana”.
Botswana Diamonds also has an exclusive option on 13 prospecting licenses in the Gope area in the area that contain the Ghaghoo mine being developed by Gem Diamonds and the recent Petra Diamonds’ discovery KX-36. “BOD has applied its extensive geophysical and geochemical database to the area and has identified new targets. Our international partner is also applying its techniques and the results are expected in early June 2013. BOD expects to convert its option into an earn-in arrangement in June 2013”.
In May 2012, BOD was awarded a prospective 249 sq km block (PL170/2012). The block is part of the Orapa kimberlite cluster on the Kaapvaal craton. “Data shows areas with concentrations of diamond indicator minerals, mainly garnets and ilmenites but also spinels and chromites”.
BOD is also doing some work in Mozambique and Cameroon. Teeling said the philosophy is to go where diamonds are. “The best place to start is where there was a mine and there is a mine”. Therefore, Cameroon meets the philosophy as there is already a Korean company mining diamonds there. The company is mining 1 million carats a year at Mobilong near the BOD license. “What we know is that the rock is there and there are diamonds. Nothing else,” Teeling said. BOD is also working on a deal to work with the Korean company.
Botswana Diamonds has also entered into an option agreement with a Mozambican company, Morminas, a subsidiary of EIP Group of Portugal to evaluate two licence blocks on the Save River in Mozambique, close to the Zimbabwean border.
Morminas holds a 100 per cent interest in both blocks. The Save River runs south-eastwards and drains an area of Zimbabwe which contains the Marange diamond fields. The Marange diamond fields are expected to produce 16.9 million carats in 2013. Botswana Diamonds objective is to explore the potential for alluvial and eluvial deposits which may have washed down from Marange.
The agreement stipulates a six-month exclusivity period during which Botswana Diamonds will review the available data on the licences and undertake preliminary exploration. Should the analysis prove positive Botswana Diamonds will negotiate a long term agreement.