Operations at the Williamson mine in Tanzania has been suspended following a dam breach. The decision comes to pave the way for a thorough investigation and assessment of the recent incident of the dam bursting causing flooding in nearby areas.
The Williamson Diamond Mine (also known as the Mwadui mine) is a diamond mine 23 kilometres (14 mi) northeast of Shinyanga in Tanzania; it became well known as the first significant diamond mine outside of South Africa.
Williamson Diamond Mine
Petra Diamonds who made the halt of operations announcement, confirmed no injuries or fatalities have been reported. However, neighbouring residential buildings being affected by flow of muddy waters. The government has also mobilized mine emergency response teams to the site.
“While no injuries have been reported, any impact on the local communities would be viewed as a material negative from an ESG standpoint,” Berenberg bank analysts said
The mine was established in 1940 by Dr. John Williamson, a Canadian geologist, and has been continuous operation since then, making it one of the oldest continuously operating diamond mines in the world. Over its lifetime it has produced over 19 million carats (3,800 kg) of diamonds. A 2020 report by The Guardian said that high-quality pink diamonds from the mine could value up to $700,000 a carat.
Diamond mining operations at the Williamson diamond mine are composed of four distinct activities: mining of the pit, re-treatment of tailings to recover missed diamonds, and gravel mining both on the property and adjacent to the property where gravel has been alluvially deposited. The open pit mining and tailings re-treatment are the largest of the four operations. The mine employs about 1,100 staff, mostly Tanzanians.