British mining and exploring company Botswana Diamonds has eventually kicked off its exploration partnership with Russian company Alrosa in Botswana. With operations in Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, Botswana Diamonds on Wednesday announced that five senior geologists of its joint venture partner, Alrosa of Russia, have joined the Botswana team on site at its PL117 licence project in the Orapa region in northern Botswana. PL 117 is a small licence of 2.9 sq km, and is located next to the Karowe Diamond mine owned by Lucara Diamond. According to the company, the Alrosa team arrived on site Feb. 13, 2014, joining the Botswana group, who commenced exploration work in January this year. "We have identified licence PL117 as a key focus and the objective now is to apply Alrosa's track record of diamond exploration technology to locate high priority targets which we expect to drill," said John Teeling, chairman of Botswana Diamonds "Alrosa will add their unique exploration skills to our team's knowledge, skills and experience to identify the best targets." The joint venture has a 2014 budget of 600,000 British Pound on a 50/50 basis and the initially target is focusing on the exploration of the PL117 licence area in the Orapa region of Botswana, with other high priority targets to come. Teeling said Botswana Diamonds are confident that to announce the successful acquisition soon on new ground worked under our Alrosa JV. "These are exciting times for our company and, we believe, for Botswana as a world-leading diamond producing country." Botswana Diamonds and Alrosa will carry out further soil sampling, geophysical and geochemical work to define exact drill targets, with drilling expected to commence during the second quarter of this year. Alrosa is the largest global diamond producer, with 17 active mines in Siberia and, producing 36.9 million carats in 2013, they account for approximately 25 percent of global diamond production in terms of volume and value.