In an update on its exploration projects in South Africa, AIM-listed Botswana Diamonds reports it has been awarded the Mooikloof kimberlite pipe concession.

The award of the Mooikloof Prospecting Licence is an important development for Botswana Diamonds. Mooikloof is a known 2,5 hectare diamondiferous kimberlite pipe last prospected in 1986. The adjacent Oaks mine was owned and successfully operated by De Beers. The Oaks mine had a grade of 53 carats per hundred tonne of ore (cpht) at a value of US$56 per carat. The large flagship Venetia mine, operated by De Beers, is close by and in the same general geology.

“Based on our experience elsewhere, we suspect that past explorers may have systematically under-estimated the kimberlite pipe size, grade and diamond quality of the Mooikloof kimberlite,” says Botswana Diamonds. “We will deploy state-of-the-art exploration techniques to reassess the Mooikloof kimberlite, and maybe open another by-passed kimberlite pipe development.”

Botswana Diamonds also reports that it has now received the Technical Economic Evaluation Report (TEE Report) on its Thorny River project east of Mokopane. According to the report, the deposit is between 1,2 and 2 million tons, the grade is between 46 and 74 cpht and carat values between US$120 and US$220 per carat. The report indicates positive economics could potentially be achieved using the top end of the grade and value ranges, assuming additional kimberlite volume of similar grade and value can be defined with further exploration.

While the TEE Report is not a Scoping Study as the company had envisaged in previous announcements earlier this year, Botswana Diamonds says it has provided the company with sufficient information to conclude that the Thorny River project requires further investigation. Consequently, the directors are considering the company’s various technical and commercial options, which will be studied simultaneously with ongoing exploration.

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