Russians join in diamond dig with Dublin-based Botswana
Dublin-based Botswana Diamonds has started exploration work on a site in Botswana with new Russian partner Alrosa.
Botswana and Alrosa will carry out soil sampling, geophysical and geochemical work to define exact drill targets. The objective is to find new kimberlite deposits, which are rocks that often bear diamonds.
The site is a 2.9-square kilometre area located in the Orapa region of Botswana. It is situated next to an existing diamond mine, the Karowe mine.
The company said its geologists have completed the advance work and secured equipment. Drilling is expected to commence by March.
"We are very hopeful that we will be able to improve on what was found previously. Indications are good and it is the top target identified by Alrosa," said Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling, the former UCD academic and prolific entrepreneur who also has interests in the Irish Whiskey Company and Clontarf Energy. "We have the money, the right partner and good ground," he added.
The company signed a 50/50 deal to develop the site with Alrosa last August. Alrosa is the world's largest diamond producer with 17 mines in Siberia and produced around a quarter of the world's diamonds in 2013.
The deal gave Mr Teeling's company access to brand new diamond exploration technology developed by Alrosa. Alrosa is partially owned by the Russian state and the local government of Yakutia, a district in north-eastern Russia.