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Botswana Diamonds-led consortium receives Eswatini prospecting licence

02 february 2024

Diamonds of Eswatini, a consortium led by Botswana Diamonds, has been granted a prospecting licence over the diamondiferous Dokowayo kimberlite pipes in the southern African country of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland).

The prospecting licence of just under 4,000 hectares is for an initial period of one year and renewable for a further year, said Botswana Diamonds.

There are at least two kimberlite pipes and three kimberlite dykes on the prospecting licence, the largest of which (K1) is a pipe of approximately 600 metres in diameter.

K1 was mined by Transhex between 1986 and 1996, when 720,222 carats were recovered.

The mine was well known for producing fancy pink and Type IIA diamonds, and the largest stone recovered was 146 carats.

There are also significant tailings dumps on the property, as well as a stockpile of unprocessed kimberlite.

The kimberlite resource has been internally estimated at over 10 million tonnes (Mt) to a depth of 200 m, and the dumps are estimated to contain 2 Mt.

Botswana Diamonds said they are planning to commence an updated full desktop review and analysis of secondary sources, followed by a bulk sampling of the dumps.

It said the kimberlite stockpile is expected as the next step forward.

"We are delighted to have been awarded this Prospecting License over the Dokowayo kimberlite pipe in Eswatini, which we applied for several years ago,” said Botswana Diamonds chairperson John Teeling.

“The pipe was last mined a long time ago and following breakthroughs in both exploration and mining technology we are excited about Dokowayo's potential viability, especially seeing that Dokowayo is proven to contain both pink and Type IIA diamonds, which are greatly in demand and fetch amongst the very highest of diamond prices.”

Botswana Diamonds, which acts as the operator, holds a 30% share in the consortium. King Mswati III and the government of Eswatini each have a 25% stake, while Michelo Shakantu has a 15% shareholding.

The Conros Corporation, which is owned by the Chandaria family has a 5% ownership.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished