IFC Invests in Petra Diamonds to Reinvigorate and Expand Williamson Mine in Tanzania
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed a $40 million loan agreement with Petra Diamonds Limited to support the expansion of the Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania. IFC’s financing will help return the mine to profitability, extend its life, and maintain employment for about 1,000 people.
IFC’s investment will be used by Petra, a producer of rough diamonds focused on Africa, to finance a three-year expansion of the 70-year-old Williamson mine that will greatly improve its financial performance. IFC will also work with Petra to ensure that the Williamson expansion is carried out in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.
John Dippenaar, Petra’s CEO, said, “With IFC’s support, we aim to ensure that the progress at Williamson follows globally recognized best practices for the mining industry relating to the environment and working with local communities.”
William Bulmer, IFC Global Head for mining, said, “Petra shares IFC’s commitment to responsible mining. This project will support the continued operations of the Williamson mine, providing important employment opportunities and other development benefits in the project area."
During the past 10 years, Tanzania’s mining industry has experienced a boom in mineral exploration and mining activities, making the mining industry the second fastest-growing sector in the country after tourism. The investment continues IFC’s strategy to enhance the development of Tanzania’s mining industry.
IFC and Petra will evaluate the mining company’s potential participation in an IFC program in Tanzania that seeks to create more opportunities for local businesses to gain contracts with mining companies operating in northern Tanzania.
About IFC IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About Petra Diamonds Petra Diamonds is a leading independent diamond mining group and an increasingly important supplier of rough diamonds to the international market. The Company offers a unique growth profile within the diamond sector, with a core objective to double annual production to around two and a half million carats by FY 2014 and more than treble production to over three million carats by FY 2019. Beyond this target, the Group’s major resource base of 261 million carats provides scope for further organic growth going forward.
Petra has a well-diversified portfolio, with interests in seven producing mines: six in South Africa (Cullinan, Koffiefontein, Kimberley Underground, Helam, Sedibeng and Star) and one in Tanzania (Williamson). The Petra team has managed producing diamond mines for the last 20 years and has developed an enviable track record in terms of delivering superior results from their asset base.
Petra conducts all its operations according to the highest ethical standards and will only work in countries which are members of the Kimberley Process. The Company is quoted on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM: PDL).