March 7, 2005

De Beers and government to invest U$250m in diamond mines

Diamond production in Tanzania is to get a boost with the injection of $250 million in Williamson Diamonds Ltd, the country's oldest diamond mining company in Mwadui. "Over a period of five years, Williamson Diamonds Ltd and the government will invest $250 million to give the mines a new lease of life," said the Minister for Energy and Minerals Daniel Yona. The money will be used to upgrade the technology systems. "However, we are yet to decide how much each side would contribute to the $250 million," he added. The company has started installing screens aimed at recovering more diamonds. Mr Yona said production has dropped from one million carats of diamonds per year in 1954 when the mining operations started, to 250.000 carats currently. In the longer term, the company was investigating various options for growth, which would require significant capital expenditure over the next few years. (The East African, Nairobi)

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