De Beers to defend SAfrica mine waste rights in court

15 08 2010

Nov 29 (Reuters) – De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, said on Thursday it plans to defend in court its right to ownership of tailings dumps near a mine where the first diamond was found in South Africa in 1870.

De Beers, which is 45 percent owned by Anglo American Plc (AAL.L), said it is challenging a government permit granted to another company to explore for minerals in tailings dumps, or mine waste, near the Jagersfontein Mine.

“De Beers, is opposing the issuing of a prospecting right to another company to prospect on De Beers owned tailings dumps near the Jagersfontein Mine,” the company said in a statement.

De Beers spokesman Tom Tweedy said the case would be hear on Monday in the Bloemfontein High Court, where the company would take on the Department of Minerals and Energy.

Tweedy declined to give a value for the dumps.

South Africa’s Business Day had reported that the dumps, located in the Free state Province, may contain 60 billion rand ($8.70 billion) of gems.

Tweedy declined to comment on the amount.

Experts said some tailings dumps are valuable and could contain minerals that were not initially extracted, and can be better processed using modern technology.

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DBCM to Sell Tailings to Local Miners

15 08 2010

De Beers Consolidated Mines on Wednesday said it will sell a number of its Kimberley Tailings Mineral Resources to the Small Miners Forum.

These Tailings Mineral Resources have accumulated as a result of the mining and processing of the primary kimberlite pipes of Bultfontein, Dutoitspan, De Beers, Kimberley, and Wesselton Mines. The retreatment of old TMRs has been a major source of production in the Kimberley area since 1978, DBCM said in a statement.

While the Tailings Mineral Resources have value, some cannot be profitably processed by Kimberley Mines due to overhead costs and have therefore not been included in the mine’s long-term production plan, DBCM said.

“DBCM believes that the sale of the TMRs to a suitable party with a different cost structure may be able to unlock this value,” the statement said. “DBCM also believes that the disposal could create additional employment opportunities and hence facilitate social upliftment in the Kimberley area.”

DBCM said it chose Small Miners Forum as the preferred bidder based on its strong empowerment credentials, their local participation, and their technical ability—in addition to the financial value of their offer.

“It is gratifying that De Beers recognizes and values the working relationship it has with the four small miners that make up the SMF,” said Jahn Hohne of the Small Miners Forum. “We are particularly happy that the deal exposes us to the rough diamond market for the first time.”

“Today’s announcement reflects our desire to facilitate the broader sustainable ownership of diamond resources in the Kimberley area,” said David Noko, DBCM managing director.

DBCM said selling the TMRs is part of a review of its operations to focus its resources on those operations that fit the company’s strategy to ensure a sustainable, profitable company beyond 2014.