John Teeling
Rainmakers & Potstirrers

John Teeling

Executive Chairman: Botswana Diamonds

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‘Recent years have been difficult for junior diamond explorers with little new cash available’

IT seems Teeling – who is a ‘doyen’ of junior mining developers – may be losing some of his enthusiasm for the industry which would be a pity given his track record and his down-to-earth assessments of the business which investors would do well to listen to. The reasons are his age (he is 77) and, apparently, the attractions of his other non-mining business interests in Ireland.

Getting a junior mining project going involves huge commitment over an extended period and it seems at his age Teeling is no longer keen to take the long-term view that is required. If true, then it will be the end of an era because Teeling invented the term ‘serial mining entrepreneur’ through his involvement with a string of AIM-listed juniors such as African Diamonds, Pan Andean Resources, Minco, African Gold, Persian Gold, Kenmare Resources and West Africa Diamonds.

What has endeared Teeling to the investment community is his willingness to tell it like it is about the industry, warning about the very real risks in these ventures. A famous comment of his was: “High risk, high reward means you are going to lose your money most of the time.” Teeling slowing down means more responsibility at Botswana Diamonds is going to fall on the capable shoulders of MD James Campbell who partnered with Teeling in his biggest success, which was the development of African Diamonds and its sale to Lucara. Campbell makes no secret of the fact that he would love to get his hands on Gem Diamonds’ mothballed Ghaghoo Diamond Mine in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

A joint venture to buy the mine fell apart in 2022 because the funding partner pulled out. Campbell’s long-term view involves combining Ghaghoo and Botswana Diamonds’ own KX36 project which sits nearby.


His academic qualifications are top notch with degrees in Economics and Business from University College Dublin as well as an MBA from Wharton and a doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard. He also lectured for 20 years in business and finance at University College Dublin. But it’s Teeling’s ‘real world’ qualifications that have made him so successful in the world of junior mining. In particular his gift of the gab has given him the ability to convince a select group of investors to back him time and again.

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