Diamond Discovery in Caprivi and Kavango

By Risco Lumamezi

It will take 5 to 10 years after further explorations will come to an end this year before they bring a diamond mine on table in Caprivi and Kavango , however the task force dealing with geological surveys of variuos geophysics, which is on board in making those findings a reality is still have to prove first from samples which have been taken in recent years inorder to explore a mother rock called kimberlite. Reporter, Risco Lumamezi  conducted an exclusive  interview with Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila , Debeers  (Exploration Project Manager) to hear  more and when was exploration of diamond which is the Kimberlite was conducted for the first time whether there’s a possibility to dig a mine in the north east regions of Namibia?.

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,: Many companies, including De Beers in the late 70’s to early 80’s have at various times over the last three decades explored the NE Namibia for diamondiferous kimberlites. In May 1982 due to a worsening security situation in the region, prospecting was terminated. These Greenfields exploration activities identified major kimberlitic indicator mineral anomalies, including the Omatako garnet anomaly. 

Some clusters of kimberlitic occurrences were discovered in the area, namely: Sikereti Cluster discovered by De Beers in late 70’s, currently located within Motapa’s Kaudom licence areas; Ngamiland Cluster discovered by Reunion in late 1999, currently held by Tsodilohills; Tsumkwe pipes discovered by Mount Burgess in 2000 and Kaudom Cluster discovered by Motapa Diamonds in 2004, with more recent discoveries in 2005.

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila , Debeers  Exploration Project Manager
Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila , Debeers Exploration Project Manager

It is to be noted that none of these discovered pipes are being mined, as they are not economically viable for mining.

CVNEWS: Why do you have a need to explore?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,: Motapa Diamonds conducted extensive exploration sampling in several phases: over 6500 samples were collected and 23 000 kimberlitic indicator mineral grains were recovered. This work reproduced the Omatako anomaly. Indicator minerals, mostly garnets, a few chrome diopsides and 5 diamonds were recovered from a restricted area, both from surface sampling and drill sampling.

A total of 3900 indicator minerals was analysed for major element chemistry. The mineral chemistry is of high interest..

In 2006, Namdeb signed a joint venture agreement with Motapa to further explore the Motapa licences. 

As part of the recent Exploration work programme, a study of the deep structure of the earth’s crust suggests that north-eastern Namibia may have a structure similar to parts of the Kaapvaal Craton where known diamondiferous kimberlites occur.

CVNEWS: Where is the location of diamond in Caprivi and Kavango?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila, : The way in which to prospect for diamonds is firstly to look for the primary source of diamonds, namely  kimberlite, which is defined as a volatile-rich, potassic, ultrabasic igneous rock that occurs as small volcanic pipes, dykes and sills, which might contain diamonds. We do not know the exact location where any kimberlites are. If we knew, we could just go straight away to that specific location, then we do not need to use these highly sophisticated technologies or to spend millions of dollars to fly with geophysical techniques or to put our teams to work many kilometres on the ground. However, we think the NE of Namibia has potential in terms of diamondiferous kimberlites.

Field Camp of the Diamond Explorations in Caprivi by De-beers Namibia
Field Camp of the Diamond Explorations in Caprivi by De-beers Namibia CVNEWS: How many carats?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,: As I said, we are not primarily looking for diamonds, but for kimberlite pipes.

CVNEWS: Your confidence, may you elaborate is it worthwhile and why?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,  : I think yes, I still believe that the North Eastern part of Namibia has potential. We have a good garnet anomaly in the middle of the Kavango Licence. The results suggest that the source of these minerals is local and the mineral chemistry is of high interest, as mentioned previously.

CVNEWS: Investor companies, any bilateral agreements and where do they come from?


Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila, : I also have mentioned that Namdeb has agreement with Motapa Diamonds and Thabex (Minnex), and in the Caprivi Strip, Namdeb owns 100% of their EPLs.


 CVNEWS : Geological history, may you describe why having a need of mine in the low land areas of Caprivi and Kavango, in your view do you think this will be successful?

 Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila, : The NE Namibia lies on the Angolan shield, and thus represents the most prospective area for primary diamond deposits in Namibia. Little is known, however, about the nature of the lithosphere beneath this region, and there is little direct evidence that there are many kimberlites in this area, and if present, that they would have sampled diamond bearing lithosphere.

 However, based on the assumption that the area is prospective for significantly diamondiferous kimberlites, the current work programmes will provide answers to two key questions, whether kimberlites are present and whether they have economic potential, by the end of 2008.

CVNEWS : What system did you use to find diamond?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,: As said previously, we are not primarily looking for diamonds, but for kimberlites which might contain diamonds. Exploring for kimberlites, we are using different laboratory, geological and geophysical methods, like stream and soil sampling, magnetic, electromagnetic and gravity surveys, and lastly drilling of the targets generated by the above methods.

CVNEWS : When will the mining starting, any job opportunities to skilled and unskilled workers?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila,: There is still a need of a lot of work to be done, but just to give you an idea; we are still in the reconnaissance phase.  Before moving to mining, we would still have to move through four phases and it might take something between 5 to 10 years. If kimberlite prospecting leads to the opening of an economic diamond mine in this area then, yes, there will be an opportunity for improvements in things like job creation (employment opportunities).

CVNEWS : Any other investigations to explore in other parts of Namibia?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila, : This area represents, based on our current geological knowledge, the only part of Namibia which is potentially prospective for primary diamond deposits. 

CVNEWS : Any Massage you would like to share with the Authority and Community of Kavango and Caprivi in particular and your final comment you have in mind?

Mr.Canga Xiaquivuila, : We as exploration team are trying to do our best.  What we need to do is put a mine on the table, for development of the NE of Namibia and the whole of Namibia. In doing so, we will always act in conjunction with our company value and principles. We will keep our relationship with the local and regional authorities strong. We will always act as we have been doing, by acting with openness, honesty and integrity and we will show the Kavango and Caprivi communities that we care about them. Our mission is to secure economic diamonds resources through discovery and partnerships or acquisitions.

I would like to thank the Kavango and Caprivi authorities for their support, the Kavango Tribal authorities for their blessing and the whole community in general for the support. Since we started the field activities, we have had no safety or Environmental incidents. Let God bless all of us.





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