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Lerala is a village in Central District of Botswana. The village is located at the south-eastern end of the Tswapong Hills, 30 km from the Limpopo River and the border with South Africa and approximately 90 km east of Palapye. The population of Lerala was 6,871 in the 2011 census, which was a 20.5% increase from the 2001 population.[1][2]

An Australian company, DiamonEx Limited, opened a diamond mine 15 km north-west of the village. The mine initially known as Martins Drift Diamond Project opened early 2008 and was to employ 230–290 people to produce an estimated 330,000 carats (66 kg) per year.[3][4] Previously a joint company between De Beers and the Botswana government operated between 1998–2001 a smaller exploratory diamond mine at the same site.[5] In February 2009 the mine was placed under Judicial Management due to very high operational costs and the world economic crunch. The company then had to seek permission to be placed under judicial management from the High Court. DiamonEx, which had already been listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) also had the trading of their shares suspended as a consequence.[6] In 2011, a UK based diamond company Mantle Diamonds bought the Lerala mine from DiamonEx Botswana which was in financial difficulties due to the global economic crisis. [7] In 2014, the Lerala Mine changed ownership again after another Australian company, Kimberly Diamonds acquired Mantle Diamonds. [8] The mine started operating in August 2015. By May 2017 Lerala Diamond Mines Limited, the Botswana based subsidiary of Kimberly Diamonds Limited, was placed under judicial management, after being forced to suspend operations, because of inability to source the required funds to continue its operations[9]. The mine was being closed for the third time in its history, after closures in February 2009 and also in July 2012[10].

References

  1. ^ "Distribution of population by sex by villages and their associated localities: 2001 population and housing census". Archived from the original on 2007-11-24. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  2. ^ "POPULATION AND HOUSING CENSUS 2011 DISSEMINATION SEMINAR" (PDF). 12 December 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 
  3. ^ "Diamonex Limited Acquires Kimberlite Pipes In USA". ABN Newswire. Retrieved 2008-01-20. 
  4. ^ Modikwa, Onalenna (2006-05-22). "Production To Begin On Martins Drift Next Year". Mmegi Business Week. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  5. ^ "Lerala mine closes". Botswana Press Agency (BOPA). Retrieved 2008-01-20. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Doom In Lerala As DiamonEx Mine Ceases Operations". 2 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "MANTLE DIAMONDS TAKES AIM AT RE-OPENING LERALA MINE, BSE BOARD". Sunday Standard. 27 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Kimberly Diamonds completes takeover of Mantle Diamonds". Mining and Travel Botswana Publication. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 
  9. ^ "Botswana's LERALA Diamond Mines Placed Under Judicial Management". Mining and Travel Botswana Publication. 8 June 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 
  10. ^ "Kimberley Diamonds Shuts Down Another Mine - Lerala in Botswana". The Diamond Loupe. 2 June 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2018. 

Coordinates: 22°46′49″S 27°46′37″E / 22.78028°S 27.77694°E / -22.78028; 27.77694