Tag Archives: De Beers


Working in collaboration with project house Paradigm Project Management, diamond processing technology specialists DebTech is supplying its well-proven X-ray diamond recovery technology to the Tongo diamond mining project in Sierra Leone, currently being developed by Newfield Resources Ltd.

DebTech’s mature sorting technology is a dependable solution for high efficiency recovery of diamonds from a wide variety of kimberlite, marine and alluvial sources, capable of treating a material size range from 1 mm to 32 mm.

In this case, the dry unit – the CDX118CD – was specified for the West African project, featuring an eight-channel photo multiplier detection system capable of identifying all types of diamonds including low luminescence, yellow and boart.

“The appeal of the technology is its efficient diamond recovery with minimum gangue material, even at high feed rates,” says Gavin Alexander, products manager at DebTech. “These rates can range from 825 kilograms per hour with material sized between 1 mm and 2 mm, to 4,5 tonnes per hour with material of 16 mm to 32 mm in size.”

Among the benefits of the system are its unique “dual wavelength” detection system and small installed footprint. It is capable of self-testing, while calibration can be conducted on-line.

“Designed to be operator-friendly and straightforward to maintain, the unit offers complete operator safety due to its improved features,” he says. “It is specifically designed to enhance diamond security, and the compact sorting modules can be configured for higher throughput or for a double-pass process, as required.”

There are manual and automated inlet chute gate options available, with a robust air ejector system that ensures no loss of valuable stones. Design is modular, compact and ergonomic, with left and right-hand variants available to suit. The split cabinet design features a heat exchanger-cooled X-ray generator and power supply compartment with separate control and service panel configurations. There is a single network interface for control and information, and DebTech ensures there is full maintenance support for customers, wherever they are on the globe.


Conserving large tracts of land for biodiversity conservation and research is one of the important ways that the De Beers Group ensures its overall impact on the environment is positive, according to De Beers senior environmental manager Dr Patti Wickens.

Its properties near Kimberley in the Northern Cape and near its Venetia Mine in Limpopo Province, together with conservation areas at both the major diamond mines managed by Debswana in Botswana, make up about 200,000 hectares that are dedicated to biodiversity conservation and research.

“For every hectare of land used for mining by the De Beers Group, six hectares are dedicated to the conservation of nature,” says Wickens. “This approach is driven by our objective to have no net loss of significant biodiversity, an aim which is now strengthened by our major shareholder Anglo American committing to have a net positive impact on biodiversity.”

Working proactively with a network of conservation and research partners, including academic institutions and NGOs, De Beers supports a range of research projects that make a broad environmental contribution. The research conducted – into birds, mammals, archaeology and other fields – is also given the opportunity to be shared at an annual research conference on biodiversity-related issues that the company co-hosts each year.

Fostering this vibrant network of specialists allows researchers to be readily mobilised when, for instance, a rare species is identified on one of its properties; such research could even lead to specific initiatives that promote biodiversity. Supporting this conservation research helps build capacity among young conservationists and scientists, as wildlife college students can avail the company’s properties for experiential learning; the properties are also made available for specific research projects by post-graduate students.

Wickens emphasises that a key part of De Beers’ business approach is to internalise all environmental and closure costs.

“This gives us both a clear assessment of the various business risks and an ability to plan the necessary biodiversity actions where new projects are envisaged,” she says. “This means understanding, in detail, the levels of biodiversity risk in each of the areas in which we operate – hence our careful focus on this impact.”