Botswana Diamonds (LON:BOD) said Thursday it had concluded drilling on the Frischgewaagt and Hartbeesfontein farms, which form part of its Thorny River diamond project, in South Africa.
The next step, the miner said, is obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals to start the bulk sampling program, which is expected during the second quarter of the year.
Botswana Diamonds has also finished refurbishing a nearby processing plant to process the bulk sample kimberlite.
The next step is obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals to start the bulk sampling program, expected to happen before the end of June.
Early-stage work is also progressing on potential secondary diamond deposits in the project area, with a number of targets identified, the miner confirmed, adding that the nearby and worked-out Marsfontein diamond mine was host to eluvial diamond deposits running at grades of 1,433 carats per hundred tonnes.
Last year, Botswana completed Thorny River's technical and economic study, which indicated potentially positive economics using the top end of the 46-74 carats per hundred tonnes grade and $120-220 per carat value ranges.
Botswana, which was overtaken by Russia as the world’s top diamond producing country in 2014, is grappling with aging mines, as well as power and water shortages.
Still, the nation is home to some of the world’s most prolific diamond mines, including Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Karowe operation, where the now-famous Lesedi la Rona, the second-largest gem-quality diamond to ever be found, was unearthed in 2016.
Besides diamonds, the country also produces nickel, copper, coal and iron ore.
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