- Junior diamond mining company, Petra Diamonds has agreed to buy 75 percent share in Tanzania's Williamson diamond mine, a unit of De Beers mine for US$10 million. The government of Tanzania owns the balance of the Williamson mine.
Petra Chief Executive Johan Dippenaar said Williamson will add a further major mine to the company's portfolio, with the potential to deliver considerable value to its shareholders.
"This acquisition also marks Petra's entry into Tanzania, further diversifying the Group's geographical spread across Africa," he added.
The Williamson open pit mine produced some 20-million carats over the last 70 years, and Petra estimated that the asset had a resource of some 40-million carats.
Technical director Jim Davidson said in a conference call that the company was looking to expanding the throughput of the mine, which treated 3,2-million tons in 2007, recovering 220 000 ct at a grade of 6,9ct for every hundred tons.
Mr Davidson said that company would install an autogenous mill during the period, which would allow it to increase the plant's capacity to 7,5-million tons a year. It has earmarked US$5,5 million for the installation of the new mill.
According to Petra statement, it would be spending some $28-million over first two years to beef up overall capacity of the mine, Abery added.
"The mine regularly produces large, high-quality stones and is a source of rare and extremely valuable fancy pink diamonds," said Petra in a statement.
"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," said Gareth Penny, managing director of the De Beers Group.
He said this was also creating new opportunities for other players in an increasingly diversified and competitive global diamond industry.
Petra Diamonds now operates in five African countries, including Angola, Botswana, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania.
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