The reasons for Debswana’s plans to close its Damtshaa mine in 2021 for three years have been cited as disturbances from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Debswana (a subsidiary of De Beer Groups), the diamond mining giant, has announced the closure of one of its Botswana mines for 3 years.
According to a report, Joseph Tsimako, President of the Botswana Mine Workers Union, Debswana plans to close its Damtshaa mine in 2021 for three years. “The mine produces lower quality diamonds which makes it expensive to dig during this period when the market is depressed,” Tsimako said.
Mining in Botswana takes place through the mining company Debswana, a 50–50 joint venture with the Government of the Republic of Botswana. It operates four mines namely, Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa. However, Damtshaa was put on care and maintenance in 2015.
These four diamond mines harbour some of the richest diamond deposits in the world making the country one of Africa’s wealthiest countries, with the 5th highest per capita income in Africa.
However, the Damtshaa mine generates very low output annually which makes it expensive to operate. According to the report, the mine produces an average annual output of 500,000 carats, 2.5 per cent of Debswana’s total production. Its stones have a lower value than those produced at Jwaneng and Orapa mines, Debswana flagship.
Tsimako also mentioned that the company would close a processing plant at Orapa Mine indefinitely. Meanwhile, the union is discussing the fate of up to 500 jobs at risk from the closures.