The largest open-pit diamond mine in the world
Orapa, which means ‘resting place of lions’ in Setswana, is our oldest operating mine in Botswana and the largest open-pit mine in the world. An open-pit mine, located in central Botswana 240km west of Francistown, it was discovered in 1967 by a team of De Beers geologists and became fully operational in July 1971 when it was officially opened by the then President of Botswana, His Excellency Sir Seretse Khama.
Orapa’s kimberlite covers an area of 118 square kilometres at the surface. It has the world's second largest diamond-producing kimberlite pipe, which is actually made up of two separate pipes (or intrusions) that coalesced near the surface about 93 million years ago. Over its 15-year life, Orapa is expected to produce around 153 million carats from 205 million tonnes of ore.
Currently, Orapa is mining at a depth of 250 metres and is expected to reach 450 metres by 2026. It employs more than 2,800 full-time employees and 237 on fixed-term contracts.
Production normally varies according to mining plans at an average of 12 million carats per year. In 2014, Orapa produced 12,073,522 carats.
Orapa town serves as the administrative centre for the Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines.