In its unaudited preliminary results for the year ending June 30, 2021, Petra Diamonds which holds a 75 percent stake in Williamson Mine while Treasury has 25 percent, said its board of directors has decided to review its strategic options at the local mine and that the asset has therefore been re-classified.
In August last year, the company said that it had not yet received an offer even after launching the formal sale process of its stake in Williamson Diamond Mine in Mwadui. The operation has been on care and maintenance since April last year amid a downturn in diamond prices, the company stated.
After learning of the re-classification move last year, Minerals Minister, Doto Biteko said as a shareholder, the government was dissatisfied with the manner in which Petra Diamonds was approaching the matter. Biteko argued that there were discrepancies in the notice for sale of the mine that should be resolved before moving forward.
“We were in discussion with the mine and were at the last stage of signing a framework agreement, so you can imagine our surprise when we saw the sale announcement,” Biteko told the local media adding that Petra was behaving like a sole owner of the mine.
Williamson is an open pit diamond mine covering 146 hectares of Mwadui kimberlite reserve which is said to be one of the world’s largest economic kimberlites. According to a statement released by Petra CEO Richard Duffy, 2021 has been a watershed year for the company. “Besides the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak, we completed a capital restructuring which, together with the sale of a number of exceptional blue and white diamonds from the Cullinan mine, served to reduce consolidated net debt by around two thirds to U$228.2 million,” Duffy said.
He added, “We now have a more stable capital structure, considerably reduced debt obligations and more liquidity.” The company however said that although the group’s production was negatively impacted on by challenges at the Finsch and Koffiefontein mines in South Africa, re-engineering projects are under way at these mines to improve production and margins.