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De Beers plans disposing its Jagersfontein Diamond Property
It invites expressions of interest from mining companies
By: Diamond World News Service
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Mar 19 2010 3:22PM
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Reference: 4771  

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De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd (DBCM) has announced its intention to invite expressions of interest (EOI) from mining companies, for a disposal process it is initiating, for its Jagersfontein Diamond Property in the Free State. The mine, operated from 1870 to 1971, producing a Tailing Mineral Resource of just over 13 million tons at an average grade of 12.8 cpht. DBCM has since few years been publicly affirming its intent to offer the Jagersfontein Property to investors. DBCM imbibes a strategy to operate mines and manage resources that meet its commercial criteria, and when those assets which do not align with its future strategy, DBCM seeks opportunities to further the objectives of Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) by disposing of these assets to consortia with empowerment credentials.

Jagersfontein mine is of historical significance as it predates the Kimberley discoveries and has been the source of some of the world’s largest diamonds, notably the Excelsior of 995.20 carats discovered in 1893, yielding eleven gems from 69.68 carats (Excelsior I) to 9.82 carats (Excelsior XI). Another remarkable discovery was The Jubilee of 650.80 carats and yielding a 245.35 carat white cushion shaped gem, which is ranked in the top ten largest polished diamonds in the world. Also, The Earth Star, which was cut to a pear shaped 111.59 carat gem from a rough gem weighing 248.90 carats. However, the recovery rate of diamonds per hundred tons of ore treated can be termed ‘low yield’.

The tailings (commonly known as mine dumps) may be attractive to a mining company, or mining consortium, with empowerment credentials and a sound track record in respect of tailings processing operations or comparable operations.

The process to be followed in inviting mining companies to express their interest will be initiated by the advertisement of a DBCM request for ‘expressions of interest’ (EOI) in the Jagersfontein Property. The Company expects to proceed later this month with the public process. De Beers has engaged with the appropriate government authorities at National, Provincial and Local Government level. The company expects the diamond asset will attract interest as there are nowadays a number of competent mining companies experienced in processing such resources. The company notes an improvement in the junior diamond mining sector and in the outlook for rough diamonds, which is beginning to show some signs of recovery.

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