De Beers to increase production at Voorspoed by one-third by 2014

De Beers will increase production at its Voorspoed mine in South Africa by a third to 800,000 carats over the next two years, according to the mine’s general manager, Mpumi Zikalala.

Voorspoed, an openpit mine, is due to produce 600,000 carats this year, said Zikalala said in comments cited by Business Day. The mine will raise output to 750,000 carats in 2013, and to 800,000 carats in 2014.

The rise in output will be facilitated by new equipment, improved roads and other factors in a plan schedule for the mine.

Zikalala said De Beers has spent US$20.8 million (180 million rand) on heavy earth-moving equipment which will raise the amounts that can be removed from the pit to the processing plant.

Voorspoed's managers are also investigating ways to optimize the processing of ore where streamlining had already led to a 12-percent improvement.

In 2008, Voorspoed became the first major new diamond mine to be opened in South Africa in almost two decades, and by the end of last year it had produced more than 1.9 million carats.

De Beers expects to extract around 10 million carats of diamonds from the mine during its 12-16-year lifespan.

Voorspoed is one of three operations De Beers has left in South Africa.