Murray & Roberts Cementation awarded US$245 million mining contract in South Africa

diamondmine-estherdyson-flickrMurray & Roberts Cementation has been awarded a US$245mn contract by diamond mining major De Beers for the transformation of the Venetia mine in Limpopo, South Africa

According to the agreement between the two companies, Murray & Roberts Cementation will build an underground diamond mine, which includes sinking, equipping and commissining of a decline shaft and two vertical shafts. In addition, a horizontal tunnel development, to establish and provide access to loading levels, would also be built.

Tom Tweedy, spokesperson for De Beers, said that the underground operations would open up deeper reserves, replacing above-ground output with about four million carats a year, as the surface-stripping ratio was too costly.

The project is expected to extend the life of the mine to the year 2042, stated officials from Murray & Roberts.

Henry Laas, CEO of the Murray & Roberts group, said, ”This is a flagship project for Murray & Roberts. Our local project team has been complimented with project management and operational capacity from our cementation mining companies in Australia and Canada, demonstrating the breadth of capability and experience available in our group.”

Highly advanced Canadian shaft-sinking methods would be used for sinking the vertical shafts at Venetia, and Cementation Canada will also provide specialist training for shaft sinkers, added Laas.

The Venetia mine is the largest producer of diamonds in the country and contributes 40 per cent to annual production. The mine alone contributed 10 per cent of De Beers' total production of 31mn carats in 2013.

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