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Botswana Diamonds Interim Loss Narrows to $365K

Mar 23, 2012 1:17 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Interim results from Botswana Diamonds recorded no revenue for the six months that ended on December 31 and a loss of $365,000 (GPB 230,000) or 21 pence per share. During the company's first reporting period, which spanned three quarters from September 2010 to June 2011, Botswana Diamonds recorded a loss of $1.1 million (GBP 711,000). Since closing this most recent period though, the company completed a $2.4 million (GBP 1.5 million) share placement, which will cover exploration expenses for at least one year, according to the statement.

The company's chairman, John Teeling, provided an update of projects underway today, calling Botswana the ''best place to find a mine.'' The newest mine, Karowe, was discovered by the principals of Botswana Diamonds and was sold to Lucara Diamond, but Teeling's center of activity resides in the  Orapa cluster of kimberlites. Botswana Diamonds  expects to be awarded a new license near the Letlhakane mine, with the principal focus on an agreement with an international resources company to apply new thinking and new technology in the expectation of identifying previously undiscovered kimberlites, Teeling explained.

''Sand and salt up to 80 meters thick cover much of northeastern Botswana.  This has made diamond exploration difficult.  Our partner believes that using conventional exploration data, which they reprocess and reinterpret, they can identify anomalies which are likely to be kimberlites.  Furthermore, they believe that they can pinpoint areas likely to be diamondiferous.  Botswana Diamonds is actively providing data to our partner.  This will take some months,'' he said.
 
If and when targets are identified, the partners will form a 50/50 joint venture to lodge license applications and to undertake fieldwork.

Botswana Diamonds holds a concession in Zimbabwe, about 50 kilometers northeast of the Marange, in an area called Chimanimani. Teeling said, ''It has proven difficult to get a license so we have agreed with local interests to allow them to own the concession while Botswana Diamonds would build and operate.  This is similar to arrangements made on oil concessions in the Middle East.  Progress is being made in this area and we are hopeful of an agreement.''

In a joint venture with Zimbabwe interests on a series of claims in the Masvingo/Beitbridge area, Botswana Diamonds has extracted a small bulk sample  to demonstrate whether or not they contain diamondiferous kimberlites.

Teeling believes that the Marange palaeoplacer diamond fields will become the world's biggest diamond producer in terms of carats in the very near future. ''The area covers over 250,000 hectares containing ore about 2 meters thick with grades of up to 8,000 carats per hundred tonnes.  Botswana Diamonds would seek to participate in the development of Marange,'' he said.

The company was awarded a concession in Cameroon covering 8,000 square kilometers adjacent to Mobilong. A prospecting program in 2011 discovered palaeoplacer rock on the concession and  a sampling program is underway to recover up to 300 tonnes of rock from three areas identified in the earlier work. Teeling said that even though ''eyebrows are raised'' when  diamonds in  Cameroon are mentioned, the objective is to demonstrate that the rocks are diamondiferous.

''Assuming they are, and we are confident of the outcome, we will undertake a larger bulk sample to identify grade and diamond value.  Results from the current work are due mid-2012 with the next phase beginning at the end of this year,'' he added.

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Tags: Botswana, cameroon, diamonds, Jeff Miller, results, samples, Zimbabwe
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