Firestone Diamonds has suspended operations at its BK11 mine in Botswana due to operational challenges and current weaknesses in the diamond market, the company reported.
“We remain committed to the operations in Botswana and the program at BK11 is a temporary measure that has been designed to enable a rapid re-start of operations when the technical and market challenges have been resolved,” said Tim Wilkes, Firestone’s chief executive officer (CEO).
The mine, which launched production in late 2010, has been placed on care and maintenance with a monthly holding cost of approximately $65,000. Firestone noted that a consultative process has been concluded with employees at the mine to ensure a transparent and legitimate process covering a number of options which are in line with the labor and mining acts within Botswana.
Wilkes said the company will now focus on its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho, which is on track to produce 1 million carats by 2014.