Letlhakane Mine

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Mine TypeTailings
  • Diamond
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life... Lock
SnapshotOpen-pit operations at Letlhakane Mine ceased as planned in 2017. The plant for processing of tailings has been completed and is now operational.

The plant is a world-class facility specifically designed and constituted with mining and treatment solutions that ensure optimal economic recovery of diamonds.
Related AssetOrapa Operation


Anglo American plc. 42.5 % Indirect
Government of the Republic of Botswana (GRB) 57.5 % Indirect
Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd (operator) 100 % Direct
Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers, the world’s leading diamond company. The remaining 15% of De Beers is owned by the Government of the Republic of Botswana (GRB).

Debswana is a joint venture between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company De Beers; each party owns 50% of the company.

Deposit type

  • Kimberlite
  • Tailings


The kimberlite pipes located within these mining licences form part of the Cretaceous-aged (144–65 Ma) Orapa Kimberlite Cluster. These kimberlites were emplaced through the complete sequence of local equivalents of the Karoo Supergroup rocks, which overlie rocks of the early Proterozoic Magondi Mobile Belt. The latter have been thrust over the western edge of the Kaapvaal Craton, based on xenolith studies from Orapa and Letlhakane. The cratonic rocks in this area are comprised of Archaean-aged tonalitic gneiss. The Karoo Stormberg basalt at the top of the Karoo Supergroup is overlain by a thin cover of the Kalahari sands.

The larger kimberlite bodies are typically steep-sided, carrotshaped diatremes, but there are many examples of magmatic kimberlite plugs and small intrusions that terminate at the base of the basalt, or which have been emplaced through the basalt as small dykes. The kimberlite bodies consist of several texturally distinct phases of kimberlite in which the textures vary from volcaniclastic kimberlite, pyroclastic kimberlite to hypabyssal kimberlite. The kimberlites at Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa are all monogenetic (multi-vent) volcanoes.

The Letlhakane mine consists of two kimberlite pipes and is one of a cluster of three kimberlite mines in central Botswana. Core logging and additional petrographic study classifies this deposit as a Group I, opaque-mineral and perovskite-rich altered probable monticellite kimberlite. Most of the kimberlite examined is massive volcaniclastic kimberlite, whilst rare layered volcaniclastic and magmatic kimberlite is also present.

Spinels are a ubiquitous component of kimberlites and their compositions are frequently used as petrogenetic indicators. The compositions of Letlhakane groundmass spinels will be used to fingerprint kimberlite facies by identifying the presence of several discrete batches of magma with unique evolution trends. The spinels are excellent indicators of these trends and are apparently immune to the affects of hydrothermal and subsequent alteration. Analysis has revealed that the Letlhakane spinel are unusually titanium-rich (TiO2 from 4.93 to 17.91 wt%), which correlates with other titanium-rich textural indicators such as the presence of prograde overgrowths of sphene around atolled-textured spinels and an unusually high proportion of perovskite to spinel of around 10:1, which is the inverse of a typical kimberlite.

Tailings Mineral Resource is coarse processed kimberlite discarded from the ore processing plant. Old Recovery Tailings are heavy minerals discarded from the recovery section of the ore processing plant.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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Diamond carats  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe607,000595,000506,000
All production numbers are expressed as mineral.

Operational metrics

Total tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe2,162,664 t
Tonnes processed  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe2,386,741 t
Plant annual capacity  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe3.6 Mt

Production Costs

Commodity production costs have not been reported.

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 18, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 18, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Mar 18, 2024

EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required ...... Subscription required 2018
...... Subscription required 2015

Aerial view:


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