De Beers launches R20 billion Venetia underground Project

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De Beers, a division of Anglo American, last week began construction of a new underground mine beneath its open pit Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province. De Beers, a division of Anglo American, last week began construction of a new underground mine beneath its open pit Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province.

De Beers, a division of Anglo American, last week began construction of a new underground mine beneath its open pit Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province.

The planned investment is a rare vote of confidence in South Africa's mining sector, which was rocked last year by a wave of violent wildcat strikes.

The R20bn investment will extend the life of Venetia beyond 2040 and replace the open pit as SA’s largest diamond mine.

With underground production expected to commence in 2021‚ over its life‚ the mine will treat approximately 130-million tonnes of ore‚ containing an estimated 96-million carats of diamonds. The mine will also support over 8‚000 jobs directly‚ and a further 5‚000 through the supply chain – benefiting the South African economy.

President Jacob Zuma symbolically turned the first earth at a ceremony held at the Venetia Mine on Tuesday. Also present were‚ among others‚ Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu‚ Anglo American plc chairman Sir John Parker‚ Anglo American CEO and chairman of the De Beers group Mark Cutifani‚ Philippe Mellier‚ CEO of The De Beers Group‚ Barend Petersen‚ Chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines‚ Manne Dipico‚ chairman of De Beers Consolidated Mines’ empowerment shareholder Ponahalo Holdings; and Phillip Barton‚ CEO of De Beers Consolidated Mines.

Zuma praised the investment by De Beers to extend the life of the mine into the 2040s. “Let me‚ again‚ welcome the launch of this construction phase of the Venetia underground project. This R20bn investment in the diamond industry‚ the biggest single investment in the diamond industry in decades‚ signals that indeed our mining sector is poised for growth‚ and that it has a bright future.”

Shabangu‚ also commended the company’s investment decision‚ saying that it boded well for the economy of the province. “The launch of this underground mine shows that SA remains an investment destination of choice and‚ through our mining laws‚ we will continue to ensure that this investment sustainably benefits mining communities‚” she said.

Cutifani said Anglo American’s roots were firmly in SA and that over the last 14 years alone‚ the group had invested nearly R200bn in the country.

Echoing Cutifani’s sentiments‚ Mellier said there could be no “greater vote of confidence by our shareholders in SA and De Beers than the decision to build an underground mine of the future here at Venetia‚ one of a handful of world-class diamond mines”.

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Jacob Zuma  |  Anglo American  |  De Beers