On Oct. 22, the De Beers Group began construction of a new underground mine beneath its open pit Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
The $2 billion investment will extend the life of Venetia beyond 2040, and it will be South Africa’s largest diamond mine.
With underground production expected to begin in 2021, the mine will treat approximately 130 million tons of ore over its life, and produce an estimated 96 million carats.
The new mine also will support more than 8,000 jobs directly, and its importance to the local economy was demonstrated by the presence of South African President Jacob Zuma at its opening ceremony. Zuma symbolically turned the first earth over at the mine.
“This 20 billion rand 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,” Zuma said in a statement.
Also attending: Susan Shabangu, South Africa’s minister of mineral resources; Sir John Parker, chairman of Anglo American, De Beers’ parent company; Mark Cutifani, Anglo American CEO and De Beers chairman; and De Beers CEO Philippe Mellier.