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01 march 2021

james_campbell_excl_xx.jpgBotswana Diamonds recently entered into a cooperation agreement with Diamexstrat Botswana and its partner, Burgundy to fund exploration of its prospecting licence assets in the southern African country.

Company managing director James Campbell told Rough&Polished's Mathew Nyaungwa in an exclusive interview that the agreement with Diamexstrat and its partner is broader compared to the one they had with the Russian diamond giant, Alrosa.

Under the deal that Diamexstrat and its partner, Burgundy can earn up to a 70% interest in Sunland Minerals and Sekaka's prospecting licences.

Botswana Diamonds can also earn a 15% interest in prospecting licences held by Diamexstrat and its partner on the first $1.5 million spent on exploration by the later where the former's database assists in the discovery of a primary kimberlite.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Botswana Diamonds recently signed a deal with Diamexstrat that allows the company and its partner, Burgundy to earn up to a 70% interest in Sunland Minerals and Sekaka's Prospecting Licences. Does this deal mean that you have found a replacement for Alrosa in Sunland?

In Diamexstrat ('DESB') and Burgundy, we have strategic partners who share the same vision as Botswana Diamonds of discovering a diamond mine in Botswana. The deal we have with these two companies is more extensive than that with Alrosa in that it contemplates going all the way to a Bankable Feasibility Study and encompasses not only the Sunland Minerals properties but also the Sekaka Diamonds and DESB properties and also anywhere which the Sekaka database covers, which is about 95,000 square kilometres of prospective ground in Botswana.

Botswana Diamonds recently said that it had commenced a comprehensive database review. Is this the database from Sekaka Diamonds and when are you projected to complete this exercise?

The comprehensive database review is based on the Sekaka database, but will also include pooled information from Botswana Diamonds and DESB.

When do you intend to start work on Sunland Minerals' four drill-ready targets?

Once we have completed the database review, these four drill-ready targets will be ranked alongside other targets and then a decision made as to the work priorities.

You were unable to explore the Kalahari of Botswana last year due to international travel restrictions to curb the spreading of COVID-19. When are you planning to restart operations?

I plan to be in Botswana [this] week and I know the team from DESB have already been to Botswana this year, so we hope we can gradually return to some form of normality from a field operations perspective.

What had been your experience in raising funds in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic?

We were able to raise sufficient funds for our planned activities from chiefly warrant holders in January of this year.

How far have you gone with your three-dimensional modelling of the Thorny River pipe?

At the end of last year, we presented a three dimensional model of the River Kimberlite at Thorny River. This was compiled from the reverse circulation drilling logs and detailed ground geophysical surveys.

Have you commenced bulk sampling at Marsfontein to assess the diamond content?

Our focus in this kimberlite region is currently on the River Kimberlite and we are currently processing some of the drill samples to test for both diamond and kimberlitic indicator content. This will assist in the planning of the next phase of work on the Rive Kimberlite, which will be core drilling.

Mathew Nyaungwa, Editor in Chief of the African Bureau, Rough&Polished