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Petra buys 75% equity in De Beers’ WDL mine
Makes its foray into Tanzania
By: Diamond World News Service
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Sep 10 2008 2:44AM
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Reference: 3028  

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De Beers has entered into a contract to sell its entire 75 percent equity shareholding and all of its claims over Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL) to Petra Diamonds through the sale of 100 percent of Willcroft Company Limited. De Beers’ shareholding in WDL is held through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Willcroft Company Limited. Making this decision official, was an announcement by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, De Beers Société Anonyme (De Beers) and Petra Diamonds Limited (Petra). The cash consideration of the sale agreement is worth US$10 million, and the transaction will also transfer rehabilitation liability.

Gareth Penny, Managing Director of the De Beers Group explained: “The sale of our shareholding in Williamson Diamonds is part of our ongoing drive to position De Beers for long term growth by reviewing our portfolio of mining assets and focusing on those with the best strategic fit. As we build the De Beers of the future we are also creating new opportunities for other players in an increasingly diversified and competitive global diamond industry.”

De Beers in a joint venture with the Government of Tanzania has been operating the WDL since 1958. WDL operates the open-pit Williamson Mine at Mwadui in the Shinyanga Region of northern Tanzania. The transaction is seen in favour of Williamson diamond mine, with Petra given the opportunity to exploit the value at the Mwadui deposit (the world's largest kimberlite mine currently in production at 146 hectares) and initiate continued sustainable development of mining operations at the Williamson diamond mine and the communities the mine supports.

Johan Dippenaar, Chief Executive Officer of Petra, said: “Petra already owns three of the world’s major diamond mines, Cullinan, Koffiefontein and on completion, Kimberley Underground. Williamson will add a fourth world class mine to our portfolio, with the potential to deliver considerable value to our shareholders. This acquisition also marks Petra’s entry into Tanzania, further diversifying the Group’s geographical spread across Africa.” Commenting on the sale, the Honourable Minister of Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, said: “The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is pleased to welcome Petra to Tanzania as its new partner in Williamson Diamonds Limited. This is an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into Williamson Mine and Tanzania’s diamond mining sector.”

Petra has proven diamond mining expertise and, in recent years, has acquired a number of other mines from De Beers Consolidated Mines, a South African subsidiary of De Beers.

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