Finding Diamonds in the Rough


Diamond in the rough
Photo cred :


Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without one. – Confucius

For my blog this month, seeing as the subject is mining and diamonds I thought I would find some interesting facts on diamonds, where they are found, how they are mined and more:

The word diamond derives from the Greek word “adamas,” which means invincible or indestructible.

The largest diamond ever discovered was called the Cullinan diamond, and weighed in at an amazing 3106 carats, or 1.33 pounds. Discovered in 1905 in South Africa, the mine’s owner and the South African leaders gave the diamond to King Edward. The Cullinan was eventually cut into nine large diamonds and 100 smaller ones, and the three largest of these are on display in the Tower of London as part of the crown jewels.

Diamonds are formed hundreds of kilometers below the surface, as carbon is squeezed under intense temperatures and pressures. Kimberlite pipes bring the gems to the surface in eruptions that sometimes rise faster than the speed of sound. The pipes are rare. Of the more than 6000 known kimberlite pipes in the world, about 600 contain diamonds. Of these, only about 60 are rich enough in quality diamonds to be worth mining. West Africa has many “artisanal” operations in which people sift through river sediments for the occasional diamond eroded from a kimberlite pipe upstream. But a few pipes have been found in the thick jungle.

Africa is the world’s largest producer of diamonds, producing as much as 50% of global production. To date, Africa has produced over 75%, in value, of the world’s diamonds with more than 1.9 billion carats worth an estimated $US 158 billion mined. Angola, Botswana and South Africa are leading producers of diamonds.
Mining activities are centered around South Central Africa, with diamonds being produced primarily from kimberlite mines (South Africa, Angola, DRC, Ghana, Tanzania, Lesotho and Botswana), followed by alluvial dredging operations (Angola, CAR, Namibia and South Africa) and offshore marine diamond activities (South Africa and Namibia).

Before any actual mining even takes place, prospectors need to locate diamond sources first. To hit pay dirt and get to the larger sized rough crystals, geologists follow the trail of secondary diamond sources to determine where the primary sources of pipe deposits are.
Once the pipes are found and the presence of diamonds is proven true and profitable, shanks are inserted into the ground at the ore-bearing pipes and huge amounts of soil are extracted. In order to make mining efficient and effective, the raw rock and soil are typically not examined on-site.
Instead, they are transported to special plants where the ore is processed and the rough diamonds are extracted. Depending on how rich the ore is, a few hundred tons of ore might be sieved just to produce a single carat of gem quality rough diamonds.
Even after extraction, the precious gem is still far from being set in an engagement ring. Rough stones are then sorted into various gem-quality categories and industrial-specific grades. Thereafter, the roughs are sold, cut, polished and commercialised.

An estimated 10 million people globally are directly or indirectly supported by the diamond industry. From the countries where they are sourced to the countries where they are polished and sold, diamonds are supporting millions of people globally. In the African country of Namibia, the diamond mining industry is the largest single employer after the government. In Botswana approximately 25% of the labour force is directly or indirectly linked to diamonds.

“A Diamond is Forever” – NW Ayer Agency – One particular diamond producer got all the credit for this sentence that forever changed an industry, but the actual statement was delivered by an advertising agency. Before this impressive marketing campaign, diamonds were not necessary identified with romance, marriage or engagement. They were considered decorative jewellery and used for a variety of purposes. Then came the brilliant strategy of linking diamonds to the most sacred and beloved of American institutions; the wedding ceremony. However, one can’t truly say that prior to the 20th century, no lover had ever thought of diamonds as a romantic gift – in fact, one of the most famous diamond gifts in history was a diamond necklace given by Napoleon Bonaparte to Marie Louise.

And to end on a humorous note: “I never worry about diets. The only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond.” ― Mae West


15 Amazing Facts about Diamonds

About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

20 ways to find Inspiration

20 Ways to find Inspiration


Looking for inspiration?

What is inspiration? This is the best definition that I can source on the Internet and I think it sums it up pretty well :

“Inspiration is that state of mind where you feel highly stimulated to do something. Your senses are heightened, you feel invincible, full of energy and enthusiasm and you are completely dedicated to what you are doing”

Inspiration is everywhere – you just have to know where to look. But remember .. “To get something you never had, you have to do something you have never done”

Here is my top 20 list of ways to be inspired …

  1. Co-workers. No 1 on my list for a reason! The ladies that I work with are amazing, incredible and inspire me every day – for a good laugh, for a chat and for a brainstorming session. These ladies are not just co-workers, they are my colleagues and friends.
  2. Nap/Sleep/Rest – sometimes your brain just needs to take a break, switch off for a while and allow the serotonin levels to restore. A short 30 minute nap can sometimes do the trick. Alternatively, a good night’s sleep can also do wonders. “ There is nothing that a good sleep or a good laugh can’t fix”
  3. Internet/Social Media -Twitter is a good place to look for inspirational people to follow. Search using #inspiration.
  4. Pinterest – this is such fun! I love Pinterest. You can browse through many boards online according to your interests – quotes, food, fashion, hobbies, to name but a few, all providing loads of inspiration. You can even choose what inspires you, create your own boards, and pin your own pictures. You can follow people and their boards and they can follow you too.
  5. LinkedIn – another professional website where you can connect with like-minded people and groups with similar interests.
  6. Outdoors – take it outside! Go for a walk or a jog and if you have a dog, take your dog with you. Roxy, my dog, always gets so excited to go for a walk. You can gain inspiration from the sights, sounds and even smells around you. When the jasmine is in full bloom and I walk around the neighbourhood I can smell it and its distinct, sweet smell reminds me that summer is on its way.
  7. Music – put headphones on and listen, really listen to your favourite music, be it Beethoven or head-banging stuff – whatever music you like. Clear your head and just focus on the music, the beat, the lyrics.
  8. Art – going to an art gallery, viewing an art exhibition or art display is always inspiring. Don’t feel like going out, no worries, you can view art on your computer in the comfort of your own home, start by searching on Google.
  9. Journal – carry one, a small one, that fits in your bag with a pen to jot down your thoughts, ideas and observations as they come to you, wherever you may be.
  10. Travel – even a short road trip over a few hours with a friend or your partner can be just as inspirational as a longer trip. Enjoy the experience, and remember the journey starts from the moment you close your front door behind you.
  11. Exercise – go to the gym, go for a run, ride your bicycle, dance – but do an exercise you enjoy as it stimulates the brain cells, gives your mind a break AND it works the body and who doesn’t want a hot, fit body?
  12. Quotes – there are some amazing quotes out there. You can register on websites and get daily inspirational quotes emailed to you every day. For a quick pick-me-up or a positive note to start your day. I love Dr Seuss – he is so quirky … My favourite is “You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose”
  13. Learn – something new, something that interests you, something you never thought you could do – I LOVE to do this! There is a whole big wide world waiting to be discovered out there and you can start at your computer by looking at eHow or Wikihow websites for some ideas. It can be something small like learning to make profiteroles (something I still haven’t mastered!) or more adventurous like learning to speak a new language. Remember, “Knowledge is Power”
  14. Read – a book by your favourite author, or try someone new. Autobiographies are always an interesting read. Not into books, there are other options for shorter reads, magazines, newspapers and even blogs on-line. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – Dr Seuss
  15. Thoughts – replace all your negative thoughts with positive ones. What a difference this makes! Start small – every time you have a negative thought like.. I can’t do this – replace it with “Actually, I am going to give this a try!”
  16. Sing – in the shower, when you are driving in your car, when you are out walking or jogging – loudly and with vigour to your favourite song. Ok, maybe if you are shy, start in the shower!
  17. Get Creative – take up a new hobby, draw, paint, photography, scrap-booking, something you haven’t tried before, but would like to. You may be pleasantly surprised.
  18. Embrace – a new healthy habit, like eating less sugar, drinking more water, using less salt – start small and your body and mind will thank you for it.
  19. You – can be your own inspiration! Look in the mirror, Gorgeous, and remember all your victories. What you have overcome to be where you are now

    And finally ….. ( my all time favourite)

  20. Write – a bucket list of all the things you would like to do in your lifetime, and it can include simple things like try Sushi, own a goldfish, learn to ride a motorbike to the more adventurous like skydiving, travel to Greece etc. Then, remember to refer to your list often and tick the items off as you do them and add more as you think of them.


We all want to feel moved and then use that to create love, joy, passion and purpose in our lives.

And so to finish, I will leave you with this thought:

You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go”

Dr Seuss.


About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

Keep Calm – 2015 Is On It’s Way

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Keep Calm 2015 is on the way!

Christmas aka silly season is looming on the horizon and so is the end of the year. This time of the year is frenetic…. Frantic….. Work to finish….. Deadlines to meet….. Projects to complete!

Keep calm…………and know that at Leads 2 Business, in Private Projects we have plans in the pipeline making sure that there are new and exciting projects on our database for next year, including Africa and the Mining industry.

According to Ernst & Young’s website:

“Africa is on the rise. While Africa’s challenges are well documented, there is an increasing recognition that the continent is on an upward trajectory, economically, politically and socially.
The latest foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have increased strongly in the past decade, investor perceptions of Africa are ever improving and the outlook is positive, with capital inflows forecast to reach US$150b by 2015.
In terms of destinations, while South Africa maintained its position as the top FDI destination, emerging hotspots for investment in Africa are Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya are considered the most attractive investment destinations in Sub-Saharan Africa, whereas Morocco is seen as the leading destination for doing business in North Africa, largely on account of its relatively stable political environment.”

On further investigation..… “In 2010 the African continent had 51 cities with more than a million inhabitants and only one city with more than 10 million inhabitants – Cairo, Egypt. By 2040, the continent is expected to have more than 100 cities of more than 1 million inhabitants and seven cities of more than 10 million. The largest city is projected to be Kinshasa in the DRC, Central Africa where the population is expected to reach 24 million by 2040”.

In various countries in Africa, in a bid to cope with this rising urbanisation, entirely new cities / mixed use developments are already under construction. Developments such as Tatu City, Kenya, The City of Light in Accra and King City in Takoradi, both in Ghana, Pearl Marina in Uganda, Roma Park in Zambia, Kigamboni in Tanzania and while in Nigeria there is the modern Eko Atlantic City which being built on reclaimed land from the sea. These ‘self-contained’ new cities which are based on the ‘work-play-live’ concept, are intended to relieve the highly congested cities and minimise the need for inhabitants to go into the ‘city centre’. The cities do not just comprise of residential units, they are fully self-contained, this means there are office blocks, shopping malls, recreational areas like parks, churches, schools and even hotels.

All this fore-mentioned information bodes well in terms of new possible projects for the New Year. If you are a Private Projects Subscriber, you will know that we already have all the mixed-used developments listed above on our database and so much more!

If you are looking for new project leads in Africa, South Africa and the Mining Sector and you are not subscribed to Leads 2 Business (really?!?) then now would be a really good time to change that….

What are you waiting for, 2015 is only 42 days away!

Sources :

About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

T is for Tender

"T" is for Tender


There is much excitement when a Project Status moves into Tender Stage. This means the project is going out to tender – tender for construction! Whoop whoop! Things are happening, construction is going to commence shortly. If, however, the Project goes out to tender for the professionals the Project Status will remain in Procedural stage as this is a tender for professional services to conduct feasibility studies, EIA studies etc.

But, back to the tender for construction. This could be an invited tender and this is limited to preferred contractors only who are invited by the developer to tender on the contract. These tenders are very hard to obtain information about as they are, well, invited. “Invited” also translates as code for “big secret, don’t tell anybody anything!”

Open/public Tenders are published in newspapers and the media and these are open to general contractors who may only be limited by their CIDB grading. With publishing of the Tender notices comes site inspection dates (which are generally compulsory) and site attendance registers. The Tender closing date is perhaps the second most important date after the site attendance date. The Tender notices (DTA) that are listed on the Projects include a hyperlink which links the Project and Tender. Once the Tender has closed and the bids are in, bidders lists are then requested and if successfully obtained, the bidders list is attached to the DTA and the Project as a document.

On average, it takes about 3 – 4 months for Tenders to be awarded, (but it can take longer. Much longer in Africa). Once 3 months have passed, it is time to follow up on the Tenders and see if any awards have been made and this is when the fun begins.

It involves phoning the contact(s) listed on the Tender, usually in the Procurement Department and hoping they are willing to release details of the awarded company. When phoning African countries, this could involve many calls and being transferred to several different people and then finally being told…. “No, you cannot have the award details”. So, I wait (after all, “good things come to those who wait”) and try again in another couple of weeks or months depending on the forcefulness of the ‘No’. Sometimes, I get lucky and if the Project is big enough to warrant media attention, and an article appears in a local newspaper giving details of the awarded company I am able to update the award details on our database.  Alternatively, more phone calls and emails, until eventually (sometimes only once construction has commenced) a kind person will relent and give me the award information. Other times, sadly I am not so lucky……

But I digress …… back to getting the award information….

When obtaining the award information, it is important to get the spelling of the awarded company’s name correct, usually using the NATO phonetic spelling which is: Alpha for A, Bravo for B, C for Charlie etc. However, it appears that not everyone is able to recall this list when it comes to spelling and in Africa there appears to be many variations to this list, including the use of animal names – and I have had some more unusual phonetic names, including “J” …. for Giraffe and “A” for ….Umbrella!! Really!?!

T is for Tenacious, E is for Excellent, N is for Never giving up, D is for Diligent, E is for Enduring and R is for Relentless: T E N D E R




About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

Mining in Africa – why we ‘dig’ it!

posted in: General 3

Mining in Africa



Africa is a mineral-rich continent with untapped value to be unlocked. Mining and metals remains one of the best performing sectors despite economic uncertainty – it is one of the industries that continues to attract investment and drive economic growth in most Africa countries – Wickus Botha, Mining & Metals leader


The African Continent is richly endowed with mineral reserves and ranks first or second in quantity of world reserves of bauxite, cobalt industrial diamond phosphate rock, vermiculite and zirconium. Gold mining is Africa’s main mining resource.


According to Wikipedia : “As of 2005”, strategic minerals and key producers on the African continent were:

Diamonds : 46% of the world, divided as Botswana 35%; Congo (Kinshasa) 34%; South Africa 17%; Angola, 8%.
Gold : 21% of the world, divided as South Africa 56%; Ghana, 13%; Tanzania, 10%; and Mali, 8%.
Uranium : 16% of the world, divided as Namibia 46%; Niger 44%; South Africa less than 10%.
Bauxite : (used for aluminium): 9% of the world, divided as Guinea 95%; Ghana 5%.
Steel : 2% of the world, divided as South Africa 54%; Egypt 32%; Libya 7%; Algeria 6%.
Aluminium : 5% of the world, divided as South Africa 48%; Mozambique 32%; Egypt 14%.
Copper (mine/refined) : 5% of the world, divided as Zambia 65%/77%; South Africa 15%/19%; Congo (Kinshasa) 13%/0%; Egypt 0%/3%.
Platinum/Palladium : 62% of the world, divided as South Africa 97%/96%.


Mining projects are actually very interesting – so much more than just “a hole in the ground”. Yes, there are the open-pit mines and the underground mines, obviously depending on what mineral/precious metal they are trying to extract. These new mines are often located in very remote places which means there is no infrastructure and this very often has to be constructed by the Mining Companies themselves in order to gain access to the mine. New roads are needed, railway lines need to be upgraded and in some cases new lines need to be built in order to transport the product to the nearest port for distribution to overseas markets for further fabrication. Port facilities also need to be upgraded, expanded and improved to allow for the storage of the product, prior to shipping.


So, as a result of new mines being built, infrastructure in the various countries is upgraded and improved. In addition to transport, adequate water and a regular electricity supply is needed to run the mines and more often than not, new electricity lines, power stations and substations are constructed to power the mine. Pipelines to carry water to the mine and new tailings dams to store water are also constructed. Mines that are located in remote locations far from towns and cities, also provide accommodation for their workers and families. Mining companies spend a lot of money on upliftment projects for the surrounding communities in the form of schools, clinics etc.


In Private Projects I research and follow Greenfield and Brownfield mining projects throughout Africa, including SADC and South Africa and there are currently 345 active mining projects on our database ………………… Just sayin’!






About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

How growth in Africa filters into Projects?

posted in: General 0

How growth in Africa filters into Projects?




“In 2011 over 15 African countries registered growth rates exceeding 5% despite the world economic recession” (Ernst & Young)

“More than 800 infrastructure projects have been identified in Africa in 2012” – (Ernst & Young)

According to this information, these are exciting times for new developments/construction opportunities in Africa.

“New US$32 investment for Nairobi’s Garden City Development” (African Business Review)

Headlines like this are exactly what I am looking for – possible new project leads for our subscribers. The search is on to turn these headlines into project leads that our subscribers can benefit from.
Where do I start, do I consult my crystal ball – I wish! No, it’s called research and it generally starts with the newspaper or article headline and from there my first stop is Google. If the world is your oyster, then Google is the pearl! It is possible to source anything, you just have to know where and how to look.

I start researching the project – where in Africa it is (Country, City, GPS co-ordinates), who is the private developer or client, have any professionals like architect, quantity surveyor and engineers been appointed, have all approvals such as town planning and environmental authorisation, been received (although some projects in Africa have been known to get Environmental Authorisation after the project is completed!), will the proposed project be going out to invited tender or open tender? These are some of the questions that I need answers to, to enable me to publish the project on our website.

The most important, and perhaps the most difficult, is sourcing the correct contact details for the people working on the project. Sourcing contact information in Africa presents all sorts of challenges, telephonic communication, can be very difficult, there are some countries, cities and even people in Africa who do not speak English as a first, second or even a language at all and sign language is not an option! Telephones in some government departments ring unanswered during working hours for what seems like days on end. Websites of African companies are generally not as up-to-date as the rest of the world and telephone numbers listed sometimes date back to early 2000 and generally no longer work. Emailing is generally the preferred and most reliable method of communication.

Back to Google, I wade through websites, peruse periodicals, industry-related magazines, company presentations, local newspapers, town planning notices, EIA notices, Government Gazettes, tender notices, reports, make phone calls, send emails, whatever it takes to source the information needed. Finally, once I have all the information required, the project is ready to be published. But it doesn’t end there, once published, the projects are followed and updated through the various stages, procedural right through to completion, but that’s another blog, for another time …… watch this space!

There are currently 691 projects in Africa – projects including dams (Metolong dam, Lesotho), roads (Trans-Sahara Highway Project), railways, (Trans-Kalahari railway), mega-cities like Tatu City in Kenya and Eko Atlantic in Nigeria, hotels (Crowne Plaza Hotel, Ethiopia), office blocks (Pinnacle Projects ,New Office Block, Kenya) and even mining projects (Simandou iron-ore project, Guinea) to name but a few, listed on our database and this list grows daily as more new projects get added.


So, If you are looking to expand your business into Africa, or you are looking for project leads in Africa and you are Not subscribed to Leads 2 Business – you have to ask yourself – Why?

Marlaine Andersen – Dedicated and Tireless Researcher

About Marlaine Andersen

I have been working for Leads 2 Business, in the Private Projects Department, for 10 years this July. I am Deputy HoD for Private Projects. Researching mining projects and projects through-out the African continent are my areas of research and I find them most interesting.

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