Williamson is an open-pit diamond mine at Mwadui in the Shinyanga Province of northern Tanzania that is controlled by Petra, an Africa-focused producer of rough diamonds that took over the project in 2008. At 146 hectares, it is one of the largest mines of its kind. It has operated continuously for almost 70 years, producing over 20 million carats of diamonds. The mine regularly produces large, high-quality stones and is a source of rare and particularly valuable pink diamonds.
Tanzania’s mining industry has experienced a boom in mineral exploration and mining activities over the past 10 years, making the mining industry the fastest-growing sector in the country after tourism. The investment continues IFC's strategy to enhance the development of Tanzania’s mining industry.
IFC provided a $40 million loan to Petra Diamonds Limited to support the expansion of the Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania, which will be used to finance a three-year expansion mine while improving its performance.
Local Economy IFC and Petra are evaluating how the company can participate in an IFC program that seeks to create more opportunities for local businesses to gain contracts with mining companies operating in the northern part of Tanzania. In addition to generating government revenues and jobs, mining companies can benefit local communities by sourcing goods and services from local businesses.
IFC’s financing will help return the mine to profitability, extend its life, and maintain employment for about 1,000 people.
IFC will work with Petra to ensure that the Williamson expansion is carried out in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.