Diamond Fields International Ltd. (DFI-TSE) and Trans Hex Group Limited (TSX — JSE/NSX) are pleased to announce that they have entered into a joint venture agreement to mine diamonds from two areas within Diamond Fields’ Mining License 111, offshore Luderitz, Namibia. This agreement will enable Diamond Fields to become a marine diamond producer before the end of the year without incurring financial debt or shareholder dilution and significantly enhances Trans Hex’s mid-water marine opportunities.
Diamond Fields, through its wholly-owned Namibian subsidiary, will make available to the Joint Venture the exclusive rights to mine two areas of its offshore Namibian Mining License 111, such areas comprising the Marshall Fork feature and the Diaz 12 zone of the Diaz Reef feature (the “Joint Venture Area”). This area represents less than 0.6% of the total area of ML 111. The initial term of the Joint Venture is 7 years, renewable annually thereafter by mutual agreement. Trans Hex, through a wholly-owned Namibian subsidiary, will be the operator of the Joint Venture and will contribute two modern airlift-type diamond-mining vessels, with enhanced visualization technology and associated equipment, processing plants and offshore diamond mining expertise.
The first Trans Hex supplied vessel is to commence operations no later than eight months following receipt of all applicable approvals for the Joint Venture from the Government of Namibia. The second vessel will be deployed no later than October 31st, 2002.
Diamond Fields will be responsible for the marketing of diamond production from the Joint Venture. However, Diamond Fields will develop its marketing strategies and procedures in consultation with Trans Hex.
Francis J. Waldron, Diamond Fields’ CEO states, “This Joint Venture agreement positions the Company to move quickly into the operating phase and by the end of the year, we expect to receive positive cash flows. These will further strengthen the Company’s sound financial position and allow us to continue defining and expanding our resources in the Company’s Namibian concessions.”
“Trans Hex is an excellent choice for a joint venture partner as it has a strong balance sheet and has proven itself as a successful diamond mining operator. We were particularly attracted to Trans Hex’s balance between technology, cost efficiencies and profitability. We look forward to working with Trans Hex.”
In addition to its core on-land diamond mining activities, Trans Hex has been involved in marine mining for more than 20 years – mainly in the shallow-water (<30m) zones. A year ago, the appointment of the experienced André Louw to head up the marine division signalled a renewed commitment to expanding offshore operations. Mr. Louw, previously as MD of Ocean Diamond Mining, has a long and profitable marine mining track record in Namibian waters.
Trans Hex acquired a number of mid-water marine concessions last year as part of its merger with Benco, and plans to develop these into mining areas are underway.
The joint venture opportunity with Diamond Fields has accelerated Trans Hex’s mid-water plans because of the highly attractive geological features and diamond mineralization surveyed, sampled and trial-mined by Diamond Fields.
Peter Danchin, Trans Hex’s Managing Director: Operations explains: “The Marshall Fork feature is a delineated ore body, the lateral continuation of which previously produced outstanding results from mining activities. We are thrilled to commence our mid-water operations in this well-known zone.”
Diamond Fields and Trans Hex extend their sincere appreciation to the Minister of Mines and Energy, Honourable Jesaya Nyamu and his staff for their continued support.
The Joint Venture Agreement is subject to all regulatory approvals, including all applicable approvals from the Government of Namibia.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF
DIAMOND FIELDS INTERNATIONAL LTD.
Francis J. Waldron
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
OF DIRECTORS OF TRANS HEX
Peter D. Danchin
Managing Director : Operations
For further information contact:
(27) (21) 939 1105
Don Halliday (604) 608-0826
Website – www.diamondfields.com
Website – www.transhex.co.za
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This news release contains certain forward-looking statements. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, including, without limitation, statements regarding future production and expansion plans of Diamond Fields International Ltd. (DFI), are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from DFI’s expectations are disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors”, and elsewhere, in DFI’s documents filed from time to time with the Toronto Stock Exchange and other regulatory authorities. Forward-looking statements are based on the estimates and opinions of management on the date the statements are made, and DFI does not undertake any obligation to update forward-looking statements should conditions, or management’s estimates or opinions, change.