November 29, 2016 / 2:50 PM / 9 months ago

Botswana's Debswana says expanded mine to produce first diamonds in 2017

GABORONE, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Botswana's Debswana, the world's biggest diamond producer by sales value, is on track to produce its first diamonds from the expanded Jwaneng mine by next year, a company official said on Tuesday.

Known as Cut 8, the $3 billion expansion project aims to prolong the Jwaneng mine's life by a further seven years and produce 100 million carats.

"The Jwaneng pit expansion is on track and will start delivering first ore to plant in 2017," Debswana Corporate Affairs Manager Matshidiso Kamona said.

The project involves the widening of the existing pit as an alternative to going deep underground.

Debswana is aiming to keep production flat at 20 million carats in 2016. (Writing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Mark Potter)

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