THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SMALL/JUNIOR DIAMOND MINING SECTOR
South Africa is blessed with a treasure trove of Mineral Resources and Geology, which includes diamonds. Traditionally the mining industry has been the dominated by a large Mining Sector in what is now, for them, a sunset industry or more accurately “Dinosaur”.
In 1980’s the South African mining industry employed 825 000 people generating value add of 257 billion rand. By 2016 this figure had halved and continues to decline. In 2004 the self-funded Junior alluvial diamond-mining sector consisted of over 2000 companies with over 25000 employees. Today this figure has fallen to less than 100 employing 2500 people.
Small diamond miners are facing extinction. This sector requires a robust relook, and reboot, utilizing updated information, new geological approaches, technology and cost effective production methods. We need exploration by entrepreneurs to discover new deposits and small or junior miners to unlock value from small/mid tier deposits. The characteristics and exceptional diamonds found in these deposits need to be highlighted and accurately mined. The approach adopted by Lower Orange River Diamonds, by way of example, for the revival of this essential industry, provides crucial economic activity, employment and sustainable mining in depressed areas.
- The current situation is that there has been no world-class diamond mine discovery since 1991.
- Quality gem diamonds of +2 carats are increasingly in short supply.
- South Africa has extensive alluvial deposits, with exceptional gemstone diamonds.
- LOR have a proven track record of exploiting these deposits.
- The Small and Junior mining sector is under threat. The Mining Charter Implementation Guidelines of “one size fits all” legislation and compliance are incompatible with a small or Junior mining sector. The LOR model mitigates this.