Britain’s Firestone Diamonds has agreed to sell its Botswana mine to a local company for just $50,000, after previous attempts to offload the mine it valued at $10-million in 2014 fell through.
Firestone put BK11 mine on care and maintenance in 2012, citing operational challenges and weak market demand for the precious stones. In a statement, Firestone said it had entered into a binding agreement with Botswana-registered company Visionary Victor Resources to sell the mine for a one-off upfront payment of $50,000.
“In addition, Visionary Victor Resources will assume the environmental liability currently associated with the BK11 mine. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021,” Firestone said.
Botswana company registry records show that Visionary Victor Resources was incorporated in January 2021 and is 100% owned by Atang Makgekgenene, a local entrepreneur. Two previous attempts by Firestone to sell BK11 failed, with a proposed $8-million deal in 2015 and a $5.1-million one in 2017 collapsing for different reasons. Firestone has previously said the sale of the Botswana operations would enable it to focus on its flagship asset, the Liqhobong Diamond Mine in Lesotho.
In 2014, Firestone estimated the mine had 11.5-million tonnes of production over a mine life of 10 years, at an average grade of 8.5 carats per hundred tonnes. Botswana currently has only one operating diamond mine outside of the De Beers stable, with two others, including BK11 currently on care and maintenance.