Petra Diamonds today announced that Petra and Ekapa Mining have entered into a joint venture agreement, which combines the respective operations, owned and operated by the joint venture partners in the Kimberley area, into an unincorporated joint venture named the Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture. The respective operations comprise: Petra’s Kimberley Underground mines; Ekapa Mining's tailings operations; and Kimberley Mines tailings operations, owned 50.1% by Ekapa Mining and 49.9% Petra. The effective date of the joint venture agreement is 1 July 2016 and will lead to Petra Diamonds and its BEE partners having a 75.9% interest in the operations and Ekapa Mining having 24.1%.
Ekapa Minerals acquired Kimberley Mines from De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, which came into effect on 18 January 2016. This transaction introduced a number of producing tailing deposits in the Kimberley area, as well as a 6 Mtpa 'state-of-the-art' Combined Treatment Plant. Petra's Kimberley Underground operation comprises three kimberlite pipe mines: Bultfontein and Dutoitspan and Wesselton. These mines were at the heart of South Africa’s early diamond rush in Kimberley. It produced 137,226 carats in 2015 and has 6.4m carats total diamond resource. CEO Johan Dippenaar commented: “These assets fit well with the Group portfolio, given Petra’s existing Kimberley Underground operations in the area. Importantly, the transaction demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for the diamond mining industry in Kimberley, which will benefit the Kimberley Mines workforce and local community. The KEM JV is expected to bring significant synergies to the operations at Kimberley, including the ability to increase throughput and reduce operating costs, thereby extending the operation’s mine life.”