London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 October 2008 – Firestone Diamonds plc – a UK-based and AIM-listed international diamond mining and exploration company with operations in Botswana and South Africa – intends making a mine development decision on its BK11 diamond mine in Botswana during Q4 of 2008 – up to nine months ahead of schedule.
The company’s Botswana operations update released here said this could lead to possible early commencement of production in 2010 with an initial capacity of 1 million tonnes per annum.
The update explained that drilling and bulk sampling were ahead of schedule, pilot plant construction was on schedule, significant progress had been made with the scoping study, and results were expected before the end of this year. It added that this combination could well result in the early development and production decisions.
Firestone Diamonds CEO Philip Kenny commented: “We have made excellent progress in Botswana over the past three months. In particular, we continue to be excited about BK11, where we believe we are close to confirming its economic potential. Our primary focus in the coming months is to complete evaluation work on BK11 as soon as possible, with the objective of accelerating a mine development decision to early 2009. Work at Tsabong is also progressing well, and we continue to believe that the prospects for identifying economic kimberlites in the area are good,” he added.
Situated approximately 20 km south-east of Debswana’s Orapa mine and 5 km north-east of the African Diamonds AK6 kimberlite, the BK11 pilot plant – which is being relocated to the Orapa area from the company’s Avontuur mine in South Africa – is on schedule, and the plant is expected to be operational in the first half of 2009.