Petra Diamonds, a leading independent diamond mining group and an increasingly important supplier of rough diamonds to the international market, could soon open a mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), The Patriot on Sunday has learned.
Senior executives from the company headquarters in London jetted into the country early last week and travelled by road midweek into the CKGR to oversee the commencement of bulk sampling for the gems-a sensitive and critical stage in the exploration process. They were accompanied by experts from the ministry of minerals' department of mines. "At this stage, it is almost a foregone conclusion that they will get the go ahead to start mining (after commissioning the project) should they find favourable results during bulk sampling," a source said.
Petra’s exploration activities are focused in Botswana, the world’s largest diamond producer by value and host two of the world’s biggest diamond mines, Orapa and Jwaneng. It is considered to offer an exceptional basis for exploration in that it ranks highly with regards to diamond prospectivity, has a low risk profile and an attractive fiscal regime.
Petra’s prime focus at present is the evaluation of the KX36 kimberlite discovery and an intensified search for other kimberlites in the surrounding area. Petra Diamonds Botswana’s current project land-holding is largely within the Central Kalahari Region. This area is predominantly covered by tertiary sediments of Kalahari sand cover, ranging in thickness from almost 30 metres in the South, to a maximum of 120 metres in the Eastern part of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The pre-Kalahari geology is relatively consistent, wholly covered by the Stormberg flood basalts of the Karoo Supergroup. Beneath the basalt lies the sedimentary sequence of the Karoo Supergroup (Lebung, Beaufort, Ecca and Dwyka Groups).
The precise thickness of the basalt in the CKGR is unknown, but it is evident from the Government of Botswana’s aeromagnetic survey data that the basalt is heavily faulted and its thickness varies considerably from area to area, thus making the area structurally complex. Major faults seem to have a North-West – South-East and North-East – South-West orientation. These major structures are the main targets in kimberlite exploration as they are zones of structural weakness where kimberlites may be emplaced.
In September 2005, Petra acquired 100% of Kalahari Diamonds Limited and subsequently became the holder of a large land area under diamond prospecting licence in Botswana. Petra continues to review its exploration holdings in Botswana and during FY 2014 the Company decreased the size of the 100% held diamond prospecting licences ground from ca. 21,520 km2 to ca. 11,391 km2 following the relinquishment of large tracks of well explored ground holdings.
A regular participant at the annual Botswana Resource Sector Conference, Petra Diamonds will grace the event in June 2015. The company boasts that investing in it offers a unique investment opportunity offering direct exposure to the diamond market. Petra’s fast development has established the Company as London’s largest quoted diamond mining group and its exceptional growth profile positions the Group as a unique investment opportunity within the sector. With plans in place to grow annual production to 5 million carats by 2019, Petra is one of the few mid-tier diamond producers to offer a significant and growing production profile. This growth in output places the Company in a strong position to benefit from the positive long-term fundamentals for the diamond industry, where demand is forecast to out-pace supply.
Petra's interim results for the six months to 31 December 2014 will be announced on Thursday 19 February 2015. Petra’s CEO, Johan Dippenaar and Finance Director, David Abery, will host the presentation at the offices of Buchanan, 107 Cheapside, London EC2V 6DN. Petra will host a presentation to discuss results with investors and analysts at 09:30 on Thursday 19 February. This will be accompanied by a live webcast.