Level Diamonds of Antwerp has announced a joint venture with Minico (DRC) for reopening and exploiting their mine in Western Kasai. The mine has reopened for production after almost a decade of standing idle. Following a year and a half of investments and reorganisation (administrative, operational) and a new management team, the mine is back to production. Having vast reserves in the hundreds of thousands of carats, the joint venture plans for the mine to deliver 7,000-10,000ct p/m within 6 to 12 months. The Group says it has obtained high gem quality production from mainly alluvial sources. The site produces up to 40ct single stones ranging from collection colours of very clean goods up to 10ct fancy colours (pink, yellow, green, orange and brown). The diamonds are said to be very similar to high quality Angolan production.
Getting to this point, however, has been anything but easy. The miners were confronted with ten years of administrative intervention, occupation of their property and (African-style) red tape from local authorities, illicit plundering sanctioned by the governor of Western Kasai - who at one point declared the mine open to local miners to take what they could find - heightened tensions and dangerous conditions, but the Congolese and Antwerp partners "did not let it shake them", and have seen the project through to production.
The PDF announcement is attached below.