Firestone Diamonds reported on Wednesday that the construction of its Liqhobong diamond mine in Lesotho is 85% complete – ahead of its revised target of 81%, while the plant, currently 18% commissioned, is also ahead of schedule.
Firestone Diamonds’ revised capital budget of R2.1 billion remained within the original budget of $185.4 million as of the end of June 2016.
The diamond development company expects initial production from the Liqhobong mine to commence in October, with full production expected to take at least six months.
Production guidance for the financial year ending June 2017 is between 1.8 Mt and 2 Mt, with the first diamond sales anticipated in January 2017.
Firestone Diamonds has maintained its zero lost time injury record with approximately 2.6 million man-hours worked.
Stuart Brown, CEO of Firestone Diamonds says that he is pleased to report that construction activities at the Liqhobong diamond mine have continued to progress well over the last quarter.
Firestone Diamonds construction update
The remaining 15% of the project that still need to be completed relates to the continued completion of the final equipment installation together with the installation of the electrical and control cabling.
Liqhobong has fully harvested its water requirements for its first year of production, with in excess of 400 000 m3 of water on site.
Currently the company’s total workforce at Liqhobong stands at 779, which includes both employees and contractors.
The operational staffing of the mine is progressing well with all senior positions filled and the remaining required positions to be completed prior to the start of production ramp-up.
In May 2016, the company received approval for the updated Environmental Management Plan and the revised standards and targets have been implemented.
In addition, the company is working alongside the local community to implement agreed local community improvement and sustainability projects.
Liqhobong is owned 75% by Firestone and 25% by the government of Lesotho.