Washington, D.C. / Johannesburg, South
Africa September 28, 2010—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
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
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.
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).