Diamond exploration company, Botswana Diamonds, says it has entered into negotiations with a technology company as it raises its bid to find new diamond deposits in the north-eastern parts of the country.
In an update statement, Botswana Diamonds chairman, Irish entrepreneur John Teeling, says they believe there are more diamond mines to be found in Botswana and they have strengthened their team in an effort to repeat their earlier success at AK6 using new technology and new insights.
"We are in advanced negotiations to partner with a group who have new technologies and approaches," Teeling says. "The objective of the joint work is to identify large diamondiferous kimberlite pipes with the potential to become high-volume, high-value long life mines. The initial focus of this new venture will be in north-east Botswana, including the Orapa area.
"The dynamics of the diamond business are improving with demand growing at over six percent a year and supply flat. We are in the best locations to find new mines. We will apply new technology on our existing licences and new ground in Botswana, while a sampling programme will commence in early 2012 on our discovery in Cameroon."
Botswana Diamonds, which was admitted to AIM and BSE last year, has active exploration programmes in Botswana, Cameroon and Zimbabwe. Teeling says demand growth is focused on Asia and that within a few years China, India and Korea will dominate world demand.
Teeling's statement continues: "In 2011, we conducted extensive bulk sampling on two diamondiferous kimberlites, AK8 and BK5," he explains. "The objective was to upgrade previous work, to define grade and value per carat.
"This would feed into a scoping study estimating the commerciality of an open cast mining operation to supply one of the existing ore processing facilities. Neither kimberlite produced the necessary results. AK9, the third kimberlite with existing prospecting results, is proving enigmatic."
After failing to find any diamonds of commercial value on two of its targeted kimberlites, BK5 and AK8, Botswana Diamonds says they have applied for new prospecting licences in the Orapa area. In an operations update released four months ago, the company said previously reported grades at BK5 were not replicated in bulk sampling where no diamonds were discovered, while at 1.25 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht), the grade of AK8 was not likely to be commercial.
The company's strategy is to have a pipeline of projects in southern and central Africa stretching from early stage diamond exploration to development and mining. Botswana Diamonds holds seven claims in the southeast of Zimbabwe through a local subsidiary over a 2.5-hectare kimberlite discovered in the mid-1990s.