Southern Africa focused diamond development and exploration company DiamondCorp plans to sell its first diamonds from the Lace diamond mine in the Free State in October, when tunnel and initial slot drive tonnage will have provided a sufficiently representative parcel of kimberlite diamonds.

This was announced on Tuesday when DiamondCorp released its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2015.

The result of initial diamond sales along with controlled bulk test results from the kimberlite tunnel development will provide the required information for release of the company’s upgraded resource statement.

DiamondCorp reports that underground tunnel development at the Lace mine is proceeding slower than planned owing to fractured ground conditions close to old workings.

Some zones, particularly on the eastern side of the pipe have been found to contain kimberlite of a quite friable nature, which has reduced the rate of advance and as a result of DiamondCorp’s insistence on installing additional support, particularly at tunnel cross cuts in the kimberlite.

While the company believes this will continue to impact on the development timetable, the ground conditions will be a positive for fragmentation and caving when mining commences.

Despite this, processing of kimberlite from development continues to return encouraging results in terms of diamond size frequency and quality.

Meanwhile, detailed studies have progressed on options for introducing waste sorting systems in the processing plant to optimise mining of the Lace kimberlites in the longer-term with initial encouraging results.

Additional anti-rollback idlers for the underground conveyor belt system to meet new Department of Mineral Resources’ requirements have started to arrive on site and installation has commenced.

The majority of the installation is expected to be completed during September ahead of the ramp up in commercial production from the Upper K4 mining block during the fourth quarter of 2015.

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