Debswana celebrates a Golden Jubilee of discoveries
Debswana Mining company celebrated 50 years of diamond discovery in Botswana in a special conference in Orapa.
The conference, which was initiated by Dr Leon Daniels Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) and University of Botswana , saw the return of veteran Geologists Manfred Marx and Dr Norman Lock.
Present too were students from BIUST.
The two gentlemen presented on the discovery and evaluation of both Orapa and Jwaneng mines.
Marx was part of a 12 man team of explorers that made a startling discovery of the kimberlite in 9167.
“It was no real surprise that we discovered the kimberlite because Jim Gibson, who was the leading geologist had already run a few tests which were positive.
What came as a surprise though was the size of it. No one expected the kimberlite to be that big,” said Marx.
The veteran geologist said theirs was a demanding venture into the unknown.
“Access roads had to be cut through the thorny bushes, and we had to brave the heat and the ever present danger of snakes,” he said.
“Little did we know that the discovery of the kimberlite will eventually build the nation,” Marx said.
Marx encouraged geology students from BIUST to also dream big and continue the legacy of great discoveries in the country.
“We have run our race, its’ now up to you as young people to discover more kimberlites and continue to build this country,” he said.
According to Marx the discovery of diamonds in Botswana just a few years after independence was a blessing to the young African country.
“God must have been looking this way because the discovery coincided with heavy falls that ended a six year drought,” he said.
“It lead to a giant leap of opportunities in the lives of ordinary Batswana,” said Marx.
The significant role played by diamonds in the country’s economy was reiterated by Orapa mine General Manager Bakani Motlhabani.
The GM said the 50 year celebrations is meant to demonstrate the success in the discovery and mining of diamonds in Botswana.
“This is more like a hand over, passing of the baton from veteran geologists to our young under graduates,” said Motlhabani.
The Orapa General Manager further said the conference was meant to inspire under graduates to aspire to become the next Marx and Dr Lock.
“It is now up to you to you go out there and discover the next Orapa,” he said.
Orapa mine still holds the title of the biggest diamond mine by area.
The oldest diamond mine in the country started operating in 1971 and produces 20 million tonnes of ore per year and an additional 40 million tons of waste rock.
The Jwaneng mine started operating in 1982, nine years after a discovery of the kimberlite and is the richest diamond mine in the world.
Known for its industrial diamonds, the Jwaneng mine produces 9.3 million tons of ore per year with an additional 37 million tons of waste rock.