London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 November 2009 – Firestone Diamonds plc “’ a UK-based international diamond mining and exploration company with operations in Botswana and South Africa “’ expects to take a decision before the end of the year on whether to develop its BK11 kimberlite project in northern Botswana into a mine.
Firestone CEO Philip Kenny commented” “The Orapa cluster contains some 75 kimberlite pipes of which 8% have been shown to be economic. The world-wide figure for economic kimberlite discoveries is just one in a hundred and the Orapa region appears to have the highest ratio of economic kimberlite pipes anywhere in the world,” he added.
“The region also has very good infrastructure in the form of roads, available power and skilled workers which makes the operating costs of a diamond mine far lower than regions such as Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Canada,” said Kenny.
So far, an inferred resource of 12 million tonnes has been defined containing about 830 000 carats of diamonds. Firestone estimates potential revenues from BK11 at more than US$20 million (R150 million) a year with profit margins of more than 50%.
Kenny said the final phase of evaluation was nearing completion. The environmental impact study had been approved and the mining lease application was being prepared for submission before the end of the year. The mine could be in production by mid-2010.
He pointed out that Firestone already had the funds needed to develop the mine following the raising of â‚¤7.2 million (R88 million) through a share placing in July.
Firestone’s objective in the Orapa region is to use mining operations on BK11 as the centre of a satellite mining operation that would exploit multiple kimberlites in the area.