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The De Beers Group has started construction on a new underground mine located beneath its open-pit Venetia diamond mine in the Limpopo province of South Africa

de beersProduction from De Beer Group's Venetia underground diamond mine is expected to start in 2021. (Image source: De Beers Group)

According to the African Mail & Guardian, the De Beers Group said the US$2.1bn project would aim to extend the life of the Venetia mine beyond 2040. The life of the mine currently runs up to 2021.

The De Beers Group’s open-pit Venetia diamond mine has been estimated to contribute up to 40 per cent towards South Africa’s annual diamond output, according to company sources. Production at the underground mine has been projected to start in 2021, with De Beers forecasting that the mine will contain 96mn carats of diamonds.

Speaking at the launch of the mining project, South African President Jacob Zuma said that the investment by the De Beers Group would boost diamond production and showcase the country as a destination of choice for international investors.

The diamond company’s chief executive officer Philippe Mellier said that with production at the mine expected to extend beyond 2040, the project would directly generate up to 8,000 jobs and indirectly pave way for 5,000 more new jobs in the supply chain.

In Africa, the De Beers Group has mining operations spanning across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. It set up its first mine in South Africa in 1888.