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Aus diamond miner finds gems galore in Namibia

Published: 06-DEC-06

Windhoek - Australian firm Bonaparte Diamond Mines said on Tuesday it has struck a rich vein of quality diamonds off the southwest Namibian coast, yielding a total of 291 gem quality diamonds weighing 135.92 carats from its Luderitz ML111 Project area.

Announcing the results of its 2006 marine diamond sampling programme undertaken as a 70-30 joint operation with majority partner Diamond Fields International (DFI), the firm said that the results of its grid-based sampling programme show near continuous diamond mineralisation over a substantial cumulative area of about 290km2.

Bonaparte said that commercial mining in the Southern Africa nation could kick off in 2007.

Through its joint operations agreement with DFI, Bonaparte has two resource development areas in the Diaz area, but falling under DFI's licence. Diaz is located near the coastal town of Luderitz.

Mike Woodborne, Bonaparte's MD, said the results were in line with those from other Namibian marine production areas.

Woodborne expressed hope that other sampled areas could have potential to support economic mining operations.

Namibia is known globally for its exceptionally high quality diamonds found both on and offshore.

Historically, 95 percent of marine gems found off the Namibian coast have been gem quality.

Analysts have forecast a world rough diamond deficit of around $3bn between 2008 and 2010.

Namibia's diamond mining industry contributes 12.5 percent to the GDP, while accounting for 40 percent of export revenue and 7 percent of government revenue. -Business in Africa Online

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