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New Hope As Petra Diamonds Takes Over Mwadui

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by paulsifa, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. paulsifa

    paulsifa Member

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    Nimekutana nayo hii at allafrica.com
    East African Business Week (Kampala)
    Tanzania: New Hope As Petra Diamonds Takes Over Mwadui

    7 March 2009
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    Dar Es Salaam — Petra Diamonds on February 19, 2009 took over Mwadui's Williamson Diamond Limited (WDL).

    Petra, one of the biggest diamond mining companies in the world, took over the operations of WDL mine in Shinyanga, Tanzania, raising hopes that with introduction of new technology, annual diamond production will increase in future.

    Petra says it is considering an appropriate expansion programme to capitalize on the economies of scale offered by the large size of the Mwadui deposits.


    Petra acquired 75 percent interest in the mine, while the rest remained with the Tanzanian government.

    Petra's Corporate Communications Manager, Ms. Cathy Malins, told EABW last week: "Our initial strategy is to maintain mining operations at the current volumes and during the first year of operations we will focus on establishing the new economics of the mine. This will include grade, value per carat, cost per tonne and overall production capacity of the infrastructure, but this will be assessed in light of the current adverse economic conditions."

    Cathy said once this assessment has been completed, Petra will announce its final plans for the current operations and the timing of the expansion programme.

    "Indications are that the introduction of new technology could increase output to around, or even above 7.5 million tonnes per annum, reducing unit operating costs and resulting in an estimated annual production of some 500,000 carats and a mine life of around 20 years," she said.

    The transaction earned De Beers, which has operated its interests at Williamson Diamonds Limited (WDL) through Willcroft Company Limited in a joint venture with the government of Tanzania over the past 50 years, a solid $10 million.

    With proven diamond mining expertise, Petra has acquired a number of other mines in different places around the world in recent years. Mwadui is regarded as the world's largest kimberlite mine currently in production in a 146-hectare area.

    Tanzania's minister for minerals and energy William Ngeleja said the government is pleased to welcome Petra as new partner in Williamson Diamonds Limited, calling it "an exciting opportunity to breathe new life into WDL and in Tanzania's diamond mining sector."

    Petra's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Johan Dippenaar said the acquisition marked Petra's entry into Tanzania adding onto other three of the world's major diamond mines. Petra Diamonds was established in 1888 and operates in South Africa, Angola, Sierra Leone and Botswana.

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    Johns Williamson, a Canadian geologist discovered the Mwadui kimberlite in 1940, but upon his death in 1958, De Beers purchased half the total shareholding in WDL. In 1973 the Tanzania government took over the management of the mine operations, although it had to invite back De Beers in 1994 whereby recapitalization and the shareholding was made at 75 percent (De Beers) and the remaining 25 percent went to Tanzania government.

    By February, 2009, the mine had an estimated workforce of about 800 apart from the services of about 400 independent contractors. In 2007, WDL produced 220,209 carats
     
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