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Botswana: A British firm will use AI to search for diamonds

Thursday, 11 April 2024 17:07
Botswana: A British firm will use AI to search for diamonds

(Ecofin Agency) - Botswana is Africa's top diamond producer, a title it owes to mines operated by De Beers and Lucara. One of the firms active in the country is betting on innovative methods for exploration.

Botswana Diamonds, a British firm, will apply AI to its extensive database in Botswana. The firm announced the move on April 9, stating that it will facilitate diamond deposit exploration.

Botswana Diamonds possesses an immense database of 380 gigabytes, comprising approximately 375,000 kilometers of airborne geophysical data and 228,000 soil sample results. The company will subject this database to Xplore, a prospecting technology developed by Planetary AI in partnership with International Geoscience Services.

Xplore is a system that combines various machine learning methods, enabling computers to understand, interpret, and reason with data like humans. However, free of the same limitations as humans, Xplore can identify potentially diamond-rich mineralization zones or other minerals, ahead of drilling.

“Our mineral database in Botswana is simply vast. Too big for timely analysis by humans. (..)Massive databases are suited to analysis by computer-based large Data Models and Artificial Intelligence techniques which can analyze substantial amounts of data in a short time,” said John Teeling, Chairman of Botswana Diamonds.

Botswana Diamonds is not the first company to introduce artificial intelligence into mining exploration in Africa. For several months, the American startup KoBold Metals has been using AI to search for copper in Zambia. Beyond exploration, AI will increasingly play a significant role in the mining industry in the long term, bringing productivity and efficiency gains in mining operations and mineral processing.

In addition to Botswana, where it holds several exploration licenses in the Kalahari region, Botswana Diamonds is active in two other Southern African countries, Zimbabwe and South Africa. If successful in Botswana, the company may consider using AI in these two countries as well.

Emiliano Tossou



Public Management

ECOFIN AGENCY offers a selection of articles translated from AGENCE ECOFIN. Founded in 2011, Agence Ecofin is a leader in Francophone Pan-African economic news, particularly in West and Central Africa. The agency publishes daily news on nine African economic sectors: Public Management, Finance, ICT, Agribusiness, Energy, Mining, Transport & Logistics, Communication, and Training.

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