Diamond company De Beers is set to move forward on plans to expand its most productive diamond mine in South Africa in the coming weeks, Mining Weekly reports. De Beers is waiting for official approval from local officials to expand the Venetia diamond mine underground.
De Beers is looking ahead to 2021, when the mine is currently scheduled to end operations. Approval for the underground expansion, which is expected to cost De Beers approximately $2.1 billion, would extend the life of the mine by a quarter-century, to about 2046. If granted approval, the underground mining operations would not begin until 2018 at the earliest.
The Venetia mine, in the Limpopo region of South Africa, produces more diamonds that any other mine in the country. De Beers chief executive officer Philippe Mellier stated that the expansion of the Venetia mine would allow for the extraction of an additional 100 million carats of diamonds, according to Mining Weekly.