Botswana: Alrosa Joint Venture

In August 2013 Botswana Diamonds (BOD) announced a 50/50 Joint Venture with Alrosa, the world’s largest rough diamond producer by volume. Alrosa has 17 producing mines, producing 36.21million carats in 2014 which is approximately 26% of the entire world’s production – as well as having a highly successful exploration record. Alrosa is currently majority owed by the Russian State and IPO’d in October 2013 giving it a value of around $8bn. Alrosa is now geographically diversifying into Africa and holds a 33% share in the Catoca mine, Angola.

The aim of the joint venture is to utilise  Alrosa’s technological expertise in order to identify high potential targets from BOD’s extensive database. The partnership has increased the amount of early-stage exploration work that BOD is able to undertake and has resulted in further targets being generated and applications submitted. Several new licence areas have been awarded and the current focus is now on PL206, PL207 and PL210 where a number of high priority targets are being explored.


Licences Held by the Joint Venture in the Orapa Area - Click map to enlarge

2015 Exploration Programme

The 2015 budget is focused on 3 licences PL206, PL207 and PL210.


  • Area PL 206 is prospective for discovery of kimberlites according to mineralogical data.
  • 118 heavy concentrate samples as well as hard rock samples were taken across the licence.
  • Kimberlite identifier minerals (KIMs) were found in nearly all samples. These include pyropes, picroilmenites, chrome-spinellids and chrome-diopsides.
  • Five areas/haloes identified.  These had very high concentrate of KIM’s.
  • “According to the main mineralogical criteria of diamond productivity (pyrope content of diamond association) the host rocks (kimberlites) of slightly eroded pyropes from local KIM halo 206-1 are diamondiferous.” according to the Alrosa report.
  • Work is ongoing to verify whether KIM’s are from the Orapa cluster, unknown kimberlites or from new kimberlites in or around 206.

Slightly eroded pyropes from local KIMs Halo 206-1


  • Two diamonds were found in the sampling; this is very rare.
  • Several magnetic anomalies were revealed which can be caused by kimberlite bodies.
  • KIM’s (Pyropes and picroilmenites) were discovered in all samples.
  • Formation of dispersion haloes resulted from erosion of kimberlite bodies.
  • The north east of the licence has a high concentration of KIMs.
  • Heavy minerals sampling and ground geophysical works have been completed and are being analysed.

Diamond from heavy concentrate sample 1/1 (20 1), size 2x2 mm (PL207)


  • Specialised recognition  (reconnaissance) routes and heavy concentrate sampling of surface loose sediments were carried out.
  • KIMs are represented mainly by pyropes
  • The slightly eroded pyropes found are characterized by a chemical composition which generally corresponds to the composition of pyropes from diamondiferous kimberlites.
  • The existing data suggest that the pyropes have not travelled far.
  • Further additional heavy concentrate sampling has been completed and is being analysed.


Slightly eroded pyropes from soil samples from area PL 210: South-Eastern part (a, b) and Western part (c, d)

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