JOHANNESBURG – The supply side of the rough diamond market had a less than a stellar year, with the failure of mines, news of pending closures and some companies missing output targets. The going has been particularly tough in SA.
Rockwell, an alluvial diamond mine, was brought down by an unpaid creditor, who brought a liquidation order against the Canadian company operating in the Northern Cape. De Beers has also put kits Voorspoed open-cast Kimberlite mine up for sale, drawing a line under its second-last South African operation, leaving it just the large Venetia mine in which it is investing $2billion to switching mining from an open pit to an underground mine.
Even though there are some resources left at Voorspoed, De Beer has no appetite for the capital needed to expand the pit and reach deeper levels of the mine. CEO of De Beer Consolidated Mines, Phillip Barton said in a smaller company’s hands there is a future at the mine, including reprocessing tailings to make it worthwhile and cost effective with a smaller overhead base.
De Beers told the market in November it was closing its Victor mine in Canada. The mine was always going to be a shorter-life operation compared to the monster mines in Russia and Botswana that have been working for decades.