In the media

DiamondCorp starts Lace diamond mine development

25 January 2013

Source: www.miningweekly.com

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Southern African diamond development and exploration company DiamondCorp initiated the 47-level development activities at its R384-million Free State-based Lace diamond mine.

The JSE- and Aim-listed group said that, with the project now fully funded, it could expect first diamond recovery during the third quarter of 2014 from its 1.2-million-ton-a-year underground block-cave development, near Kroonstad.

The Lace mine, which would transform DiamondCorp into an underground diamond producer, would be block-cave mined, with three caves planned over its 25-year life-of-mine on the 47-, 67- and 85-levels, at depths of 470 m, 670 m and 850 m respectively.

Lace mine was expected to produce more than 500 000 ct/y of diamonds at peak production by 2025.

DiamondCorp CEO Paul Loudon commented that the main pipe at the development held 33.1-million tons of kimberlite indicated and inferred to a depth of 855 m and contained 13.4-million carats in both resource categories at an average grade of 40.1 carats per hundred tons.

“Anticipated revenue from the mine is forecast at R421-million during the 43 months of development before full production of 100 000 t/m is achieved,” he said, adding that the resource had an in-ground value in excess of $2-billion at $160/ct.

The next four months would see the group focus on, besides others, excavating a new 66 000 bank cubic metre boxcut; completing a vent raise from the 16-level; installing a tipping arrangement on the 24-level; rebuilding a further underground loader and two dump trucks; upgrading the dense media separation plant; and completing detailed design drawings for the underground conveyor belts.

Funding

The development kicked off after DiamondCorp received the first $3-million tranche of a $6-million term loan from Tiffany subsidiary Laurelton Diamonds this month.

A second tranche of $3-million was scheduled to be paid on April 10.

The total funding available for the project now stood at R320-million and included the $6-million loan from Laurelton, the £4.2-million raised through the issue of convertible bonds in December and a R220-million project finance facility secured from the Industrial Development Corporation in September.

This represented a 33% contingency on the company’s forecast R285-million peak funding requirement.

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