De Beers Group today announced it is seeking expressions of interest from potential buyers for its Voorspoed mine in Kroonstad, Free State, South Africa. "After evaluating a range of options, the decision to place Voorspoed mine on the market has been taken to provide the opportunity for responsible lower-cost operators to employ a different operating model that could potentially extend the mine’s operating life beyond 2020, thereby contributing to the host community through continued employment opportunities and economic activity," informs De Beers. Potential buyers will be required to exhibit a record of success technically and financially, and to meet all applicable regulatory and social requirements while economically and sustainably operating the mine.
When the mine was re-commisioned in 2008, it was expected to have a full capacity production of 800,000 carats per year and over ten million carats were expected to be generated during the life of the mine. However, earlier this year they decided the cost metrics at the operation no longer fit the company’s profile. There are resources left at the mine, but it would need an investment to expand the pit to reach fresh ore, an investment De Beers was not willing to make. Phillip Barton, CEO, De Beers Consolidated Mines, said: “I am very proud of the Voorspoed mine team, who have contributed so much to the operation’s success to date and ensured it has always operated to the highest standards of environmental and social performance. However, based on our experience with other operations, we believe the most responsible course of action is to give other lower-cost operators the opportunity to purchase the mine and potentially extend its life, as this will maximise the benefit for the community and the mine’s workers.” In its South African portfolio, De Beers also operates the Venetia mine in Limpopo Province and is currently making its largest-ever investment in South Africa with nearly $1.5 billion (ZAR20 billion) project to take the mine underground.
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