Orapa is a conventional open pit mine, situated 240 km west of Francistown. The Mine was discovered in 1967 by a team of De Beers Geologists led by Manfred Marx. It became fully operational in July 1971 following an official opening by the then President of Botswana, His Excellency Sir Seretse Khama.
Currently Orapa is mining at a depth of 305 metres and is expected to reach 350 metres by 2026.
The resource consists of one volcanic pipe that separates into two distinct pipes at depth, namely north and south pipes that erupted through Transvaal strata and the overlying Karoo sediments over 200 million years ago.
Production normally varies according to mining plans at an average of 10 million carats per year. In 2020, Orapa produced 8 287 939 carats.
Orapa is a closed town with a population of over 12 000 people, it serves as the administrative centre for Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines.
Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines is certified ISO 14001: 2015 Environmental Management System and ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System. In addition, the mine achieved an excellent 2020 Safety performance of a Total recordable frequency rate (TRIFR) of 0.08 against a target 0.14 which translate to 43% improvement compared with year 2019. This performance means that throughout 2020 there were no fatal injury occurrences. This performance has been under-pinned by behaviour and culture change initiative Quantum Series which include High Performance Hazards management, employee recognition and rewards, Quantum Rewards, Contractor Safety Management, ECOHS mentorship and coaching programme as well as management of Priority Unwanted Events (PUEs) and Critical controls.
Orapa Mine The mine began operating in 1971. Orapa Mine is the biggest open cast mine in the world.