De Beers has announced that it is looking for expressions of interest for its Kimberley Mines in South Africa.
The company said it has been investigating ways to extend the economic life of its tailings-based mining operation in Kimberley beyond 2018, by placing the mine on the market.
Phillip Barton, CEO at De Beers Consolidated Mines, said: “It is encouraging that our work, to date, in considering all options, has shown that Kimberley Mines may not have to close in the near future. We are liaising with directly affected stakeholders outlining feasible options to extend the potential of the mine and its assets.
“We are engaging fully with employees, union representatives, and with government at national and other levels; most importantly with the Northern Cape government and the Municipality.”
Barton added that the mine has a “superb” team of managers and operators, and the company is keen to offer the mine as a going concern to facilitate a “greater degree” of job security. He said with an “appropriate operator”, the mine has potential into the next decade.
The company said that it hopes to close the ‘expression of interest’ phase, and conclude a sales agreement in a “matter of months”.
It said that it was critical that, thereafter, the transfer of the mine to the new owners meets all regulatory requirements, and is handled with appropriate care to avoid “unnecessary delay and the consequent depletion of the diamond resource for the new operator”.
The mine is De Beers’ second largest producer in South Africa with production in 2014 of 722,000 carats.