Aerial view of
the AK6 base camp
 
London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 11 June 2010 – AIM and Botswana Stock Exchange-listed African Diamonds plc (AFD) says it expects the AK6 diamond mine in Botswana to come on stream in the third quarter of 2011.

A company statement issued here said board approval was expected at the end of June for the final AK6 feasibility studies. African Diamonds holds 40% of AK6, and TSX-listed Lucara Diamond Corporation “’ an African focused diamond exploration and development company “’ has the other 60%.

The statement added that while this was a month later than the company’s initial predictions of completing the feasibility study in late May, delivery of the mine had been brought forward by a quarter, having originally been targeted for the fourth quarter of 2011.

African Diamonds chairman John Teeling had said in March that the pace of development at AK6 was accelerating. He added that the company’s partner, Lucara, shared its objective of bringing the mine on stream as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“The mine will come on stream at the perfect time while prices and demand are high. The recent valuation report has also vindicated our view that AK6 will produce high quality, beautiful stones,” Teeling said.

In the meantime, the company is ramping up exploration on its 100% owned Botswana exploration licences. It explained that the focus was on three Orapa kimberlites, each with the potential to be stand-alone or feeder mines to the AK6 mine.

African Diamonds said that, following a detailed review of earlier work done on kimberlites AK8, AK9 and BK5, an 800 reverse circulation drill hole programme would commence in the coming weeks at a cost of approximately US$1 million (R7.5 million). The purpose of the drilling was to accurately delineate the size of each kimberlite and to estimate microdiamond and heavy mineral grades.

“The close to surface/outcropping areas of the AK8 and AK9 kimberlites, where extensive data already exists, will be the principal targets. BK5 is at an earlier stage of exploration but has significant potential,” the company added.