De Beers may follow its resumption of exploration for diamonds in South Africa’s Northern Cape by looking at opportunities in Zimbabwe and in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“I’m excited about what I’m seeing in Zimbabwe,” said Phillip Barton, chief executive officer of De Beers’ South African unit. “If we get licences, we would have a further look.”
The company is seeking deposits in South Africa after gaining 16 exploration licenses in Northern Cape province, and Barton said it wants to extend searches to Free State, North West and Limpopo, where De Beers is working on the $2 billion Venetia project. It’s natural to look into nearby Zimbabwe, he said. De Beers
“We have Venetia mine that’s literally 20 kilometers from the Zimbabwe border,” Barton said on the sidelines of South Africa’s annual Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town. “Why would it be just on the one side?”
In addition, De Beers is considering seeking exploration licences in Congo if the legal situation improves, as well as adding another ship to its fleet of five looking for marine deposits off Namibia.