RAPAPORT... Botswana Diamonds plc reported a comprehensive loss of $370,000 (GBP 222,000) for the first half that ended on December 31, down from a loss of $470,000 (GBP 282,000) one year earlier. Meanwhile, the explorer's assets rose 3.7 percent year on year to $11.1 million (GBP 6.7 million) and its total equity increased 4.1 percent to $10.5 million (GBP 6.3 million).
The company's chairman, John Teeling, explained that it is a good time to be in diamond exploration as demand continues to improve while supplies are basically flat. ''Existing mines are aging and becoming more expensive to mine. There is little new supply. In this environment, Botswana Diamonds is an active explorer with our joint-venture partner ALROSA, the biggest diamond company in the world. ALROSA has applied unique technical skills to identify targets, which they believe will be kimberlites and contain diamonds. This is the technology developed to see through the tundra in Siberia.
“We are using technology never before applied in Botswana. The pieces of the jigsaw for Botswana Diamonds are being assembled and our potential for exploration success and the generation of shareholder value going forward remains strong,” Teeling said.
The two companies' joint budget for 2014 is $1 million, with Botswana Diamond's operations focusing on the Orapa area of Botswana, where the partners are testing the PL117 license, a small 2.9-square-kilometer area identified by ALROSA as having a high potential for diamondiferous kimberlites. The first phase of work is completed, data is being interpreted and concentrates have been shipped to St. Petersburg, Russia for mineralogical identification, grain counts and probing. Indicator minerals are in evidence, according to the firm.
Botswana Diamonds also has two licenses in the eastern Orapa area, as well as a 13-license block in the Gope region, where 30 known kimberlites were identified. With activity focused on PL117, Botswana Diamonds scaled back exploration in other areas and dropped two blocks in Mozambique. The company also inherited a 35.4 percent interest in Bugeco S.A., a private Belgian company with exploration interests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Bugeco sold its assets in a cash and paper deal to Kaizen Discovery Inc. and is now in the process of being liquidated. Botswana Diamonds expects to receive more than $300,000 from this transaction.