Excavation work for the US$2 billion underground extension of the Venetia mine in South Africa got under way in 2013, the year De Beers celebrated its 125th anniversary.
The new underground mine is the biggest single investment in the country’s diamond industry in decades and is scheduled to begin production in 2022, climbing to full production in 2025, when it will treat about 132 million tonnes of ore containing an estimated 94 million carats.1
It is a new stage in the development of Venetia mine, which is the country’s largest producer of diamonds, extending its life to 2046.
The tunnel decline from the surface providing access to the underground mine has reached more than 1,000 metres in length. Two vertical shafts, each seven metres in diameter, are being sunk to a depth of 1,080 metres, an operation that will take until 2018.
Around 1,500 jobs have already been created for local people, and another 500 will be drafted in when the major underground work begins.
As part of the project, houses are being built in nearby Musina to accommodate workers, and support will be given to improve local roads.