De Beers began construction of a new underground diamond mine beneath its open-pit Venetia mine in Limpopo province, South Africa, on October 22. The $2 billion (R20 billion) investment will extend the life of Venetia operations beyond 2040, and the underground mine will replace the Venetia open pit as South Africa’s largest diamond mine. Mine development will include the sinking of two vertical shafts and a decline shaft to a depth of 1 km. Underground production is expected to begin in 2021 and will extend into the 2040s.

The underground mine will produce a total of about 130 million mt of ore containing an estimated 96 million carats of diamonds over its mine life. The mine will directly support more than 8,000 jobs and a further 5,000 through the supply chain.

In South Africa, De Beers operates through De Beers Consolidated Mines (DBCM), a 74/26 Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) partnership with Ponahalo Holdings. DBCM manages the Venetia mine, the Voorspoed mine, and the ongoing recovery of diamonds from the Kimberley tailings dumps.