SouthernEra (SUF-T) has been awarded 41 diamond exploration permits covering 13,000 sq. km in south-central Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The permits lie in the Kasai-Oriental province, an area that has produced 2 of the 10 largest gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Over the past 2 years, SouthernEra has studied historical diamond-data and kimberlitic indicator minerals obtained from tailings at artisanal workings. It used this information to select permits.
In the mid-1980s Kasai province produced about 20 million carats of diamonds per year. It was estimated that 19.6 million carats were produced from the entire country in 2001. An estimated 20% of the diamonds produced are of gem quality.
Since June 2003, the investment climate in the DRC has improved because the Ministry of Mines began implementation of the Mining Registry under a new Mining Code.
Most of the prospective Kasai province, underlain by an Archean granite-gneiss craton, is covered by exploration permits.
SouthernEra is beginning a 43,000 line-km airborne magnetic/radiometric survey.