Irish firm finds diamond cluster hidden since Boer War
Botswana Diamonds is working in part of a South African province previously unexplored
Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling said the best place to find a mine “is where there is or was a mine”
Dublin-based exploration company Botswana Diamonds has located rocks likely containing diamonds in a region of South Africa that has until now gone unexplored after records were destroyed in the second Boer War.
The John Teeling-chaired group has begun work in a 50,000 hectare area of the central province of South Africa, close to Kimberley, where a number of diamond mines are now believed to have existed some time prior to 1880.
However, a significant economic recession at the time resulted in their permanent curtailment, and most records of the operations were destroyed in the course of the Boer War in 1900.
Botswana Diamonds said on Tuesday that its work there, dubbed the Free State Project, had led to the discovery of eight group 1 kimberlites, which are rocks that may contain diamonds.
The area’s potential for diamonds was discovered after anomalies were identified using satellite imagery. Further evidence was gathered from record archives in Kimberley and Bloemfontein, as well as through follow-up work on the ground.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that very little, if any, modern exploration technology has been applied to the area, an account supported by the landowners, whose families have been in occupation of the properties for a number of generations.
Active exploration has begun in the area consisting of four prospecting rights covering within a kimberlite cluster.
More detailed ground work has involved further field observations and the collection of samples from the relevant sites, which have been subject to whole rock geochemistry tests by the Council for Geosciences.
Extensive historical working suggests the discovered kimberlites do contain diamonds.
A detailed ground geophysical survey is currently taking place to assess the size of these kimberlites and the results of this will be announced next month.
Botswana Diamonds chairman John Teeling said the best place to find a mine “is where there is or was a mine”.
“The Free State area was the centre of world diamond mining over 100 years ago but has been neglected,” he said. “New technology and new ideas offers opportunities. This approach is paying off for us with the re-discovery of eight kimberlites.
“Now we have to see what opportunities exist for Botswana Diamonds. Detailed ground geophysics is currently underway, the results of which will be announced next month.”