Cut-8 will become the main source of ore for Botswana’s Jwaneng mine in 2018 and extend the life of one of the world’s richest diamond mines by value to at least 2030.
It is expected to contribute an estimated US$31 billion (in 2014 prices) to Botswana’s economy and generate more than 1,000 new jobs.
It is called Cut-8 because it is the eighth cut, or expansion, of the mine. It will increase the depth of the mine from 400 metres to 650 metres, making the pit 2.7km long and 1.8km wide. The expansion will catapult Jwaneng mine to ‘super-pit’ status, becoming one of the largest open pit mines in the world.
The new mine will provide access to an estimated 92 million carats of mainly high-quality diamonds from about 81 million tonnes of material.* But before a single diamond can be found, about 500 million tonnes of rock surrounding the diamond-bearing ore must be removed.
Every day, more than 340,000 tonnes of waste rock and 23,000 tonnes of ore are removed during work on Cut-8.
Jwaneng mine, which opened in 1982, is owned by Debswana, a 50-50 joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers. It recovered 11.3 million carats in 2014. Jwaneng in Setswana means ‘the place where a small shining stone is found’.
The investment will support more than 4,500 jobs per year during the operational phase when diamonds are extracted from the ground.