KEM JV Mine (Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture mine)
About KEM JV Mine (Kimberley Ekapa Mining Joint Venture mine)
The Kimberley mines were at the heart of South Africa’s early diamond rush in Kimberley in the late 1800s, where the world’s first hard rock diamond deposits were discovered, hence the name ‘kimberlite’. The Kimberley mines were integral to the economic development of South Africa as their output effectively financed development of the nascent gold industry.
The Kimberley mines were amalgamated into De Beers by 1890. The Dutoitspan pipe was mined as an open pit to a depth of 122 metres and Wesselton and Bultfontein were mined as open pits to a depth of 76 metres. The mines were then converted to chambering (a combination of shrinkage stoping and sub-level caving) as an underground mining method during the period 1890 to 1950. In the 1950s underground mining converted to the more efficient and safer block caving methods, the mining method currently still being used to exploit reserves on all three of the mines.
The mines were closed by De Beers in August 2005 and subsequently Petra operated Kimberley Underground under care and maintenance from September 2007. Petra was given approval to operate the mines under De Beers’ licence, demonstrating the level of confidence the industry leader has in Petra’s overall ability to rehabilitate and operate deep underground diamond mines. This care and maintenance period enabled Petra to complete all the rehabilitation work required in order to ready the operation to recommence production. The acquisition of Kimberley Underground completed in May 2010.
In December 2015, Petra announced the acquisition of an interest in the remaining Kimberley Mine assets in South Africa from De Beers Consolidated Mines Proprietary Limited, in consortium with Ekapa Mining (Pty) Limited, an established Kimberley-based diamond tailings producer. The Kimberley Mines acquisition comprised of a number of tailings dumps in Kimberley and the high volume Central Treatment Plant, at a cost of ZAR102 million (ca. US$7.2 million).
Petra and Ekapa Mining then entered into a joint venture agreement in July 2016, in order to combine their respective operations under one business unit. The KEM JV is a joint venture between Petra and its partner Ekapa Mining and incorporates the Kimberley Underground mine (mining the Bultfontein, Dutoitspan and Wesselton kimberlite pipes), extensive tailings retreatment programmes (with total tailings resources of some 140.1 Mt) and the high volume Central Treatment Plant (“CTP”).
The Kimberley Underground mines have a history of producing large diamonds and fancy yellows, such as the Oppenheimer (253 carats rough). The largest diamond ever recovered at Kimberley Underground was +800 carats and the mine is also the source of the Kimberley Octahedral, at 616 carats, one of the largest uncut diamonds in the world.
Industry Type: Private