Firestone and De Beers agree to explore two areas in Botswana

Firestone Diamonds plc, said it has signed two joint venture agreements with De Beers covering the Company’s Orapa and Jwaneng kimberlite exploration projects in Botswana.

The Orapa and Jwaneng prospecting licences cover an area of approximately 5,000 square kilometers and are considered to be highly prospective for hosting diamondiferous kimberlite as they are located close to the Orapa and Jwaneng diamond mines. Orapa and Jwaneng are the two richest diamond mines in the world, producing approximately 29 million carats per year with a value of over $2.5 billion. Much of the area covered by the Orapa and Jwaneng prospecting licences has never been fully explored using modern geophysical exploration techniques, and is considered to be highly prospective for the discovery of new diamondiferous kimberlites.

Under the terms of the new Orapa and Jwaneng joint venture agreements, De Beers will finance and carry out all exploration and evaluation work on the Orapa and Jwaneng projects, up to and including the completion of bankable feasibility studies on any kimberlites discovered in each project area, in return for a 61% interest in each project.

“Firestone currently controls the largest portfolio of diamond exploration rights around the two richest diamond mines in the world,” said Philip Kenny, CEO of Firestone Diamonds. “The signing of these two new joint ventures with De Beers indicates that they also believe that the potential for the discovery of new diamondiferous kimberlites in these areas is very good. With the intensive exploration program currently under way and the technical expertise and financial resources that will be applied to these projects by De Beers, we believe that we will make significant progress towards realising the exciting potential of the projects in the coming year.”

Firestone Diamonds also said in the statement that significant progress has been made in exploration work carried out by De Beers on the Mopipi joint venture project in Botswana, which covers an area of approximately 3,600 square kilometers. A total of 51,408 line kilometres of high-resolution geophysical surveys, comprising airborne magnetics, airborne gravity gradiometry, ground magnetics, and ground gravity, have been conducted, covering approximately 95% of the Mopipi project area.