Debswana

Jwaneng Mine in Botswana is the world's richest diamond mine by value

A 50/50 joint venture partnership with the Government of the Republic of Botswana to mine the country's diamonds

Our partnership with Botswana, which is in its fifth decade, has contributed to the transformation of an essentially agricultural country into a nation with one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. Recognised as one of the most successful public-private partnerships in the world, Debswana has become part of the fabric of Botswana, enabling her people to unlock the value of their precious natural resource and the potential of their country.

The search for diamonds in Botswana began with the discovery of three small alluvial diamonds along the Motloutse River in 1955. It was not until 1967 that our geologists, exploring near the village of Letlhakane, found the quantities of elemenite and garnets that indicated the presence of diamond-rich ores. 

Debswana was formed in 1978, as a partnership between Botswana and De Beers to mine Botswana’s diamonds. Today, Debswana boasts four open-pit mines: Jwaneng, Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa. Jwaneng is the world’s richest diamond mine and Orapa is the world’s largest open-pit diamond mine.

Debswana has been recognised by leaders around the world for how a true partnership between a well-managed government and a commercial enterprise can create value for both the country and the product. 

...When you buy a diamond from De Beers, part of that money still today goes to help build and maintain roads and clean water systems in Botswana. You can drive anywhere in that country and you can see services that have been paid for by a legal framework, strong regulations, and a national consensus that the money from the Earth and its riches should be spent on the people of Botswana...

Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America at a press conference in Abuja, Nigeria, ,
12 August, 2009
Hillary Clinton

Debswana at a Glance

  • The world's largest diamond producer by value
  • Contributes approximately 30% of Botswana's GDP, 50% of Government’s revenues, and is the country's main foreign exchange generator
  • Jwaneng, the world's richest diamond mine by value, is on its way to becoming one of only a handful of super-pits in the world
  • Orapa, with the world's second largest diamond-producing kimberlite pipe, is the world's largest open-pit diamond mine
  • Debswana is Botswana’s largest private employer, with 95% of the staff made up of Botswana citizens

Debswana's four mines are:

  • Mining Methods LIST

    Jwaneng

    Jwaneng may mean "a place of small stones" in Setswana, but this mine's significance to De Beers and the people of Botswana is unparalleled. The world's richest diamond mine by value, Jwaneng, in south central Botswana about 160 miles southwest of Gaborone, contributes between 60% and 70% of Debswana's revenue.

  • Open Pit LIST

    Letlhakane

    Letlhakane, which means "little reeds" in Setswana, is within the Orapa kimberlite area. It was discovered when Orapa was being sampled and evaluated, and was the second mine opened by Debswana. It is the deepest of the Debswana mines.

  • Orapa LIST

    Orapa

    Orapa, which means "the resting place of lions" in Setswana, is our oldest operating mine in Botswana and the largest open pit diamond mine in the world. An important contributor to our total carat output, Orapa is second only to Jwaneng in volume of production.

  • Damtshaa LIST

    Damtshaa

    In 2003 Damtshaa, which means ‘water for tortoises’ in Setswana, became Debswana’s youngest mine when we consolidated four small diamond pipes, discovered between 1967 and 1971, into one mine. It's located about 20km east of the Orapa kimberlite pipe in central Botswana.

Orapa open pit mine, the largest diamond mine in the world