London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 14 July 2010 – Commercial production has started at the BK11 diamond mine in Botswana, following the granting of a mining licence to Monak Venture (Pty) Limited “’ the 90%-owned subsidiary of AIM-quoted diamond mining and exploration company Firestone Diamonds plc.
Revealing this in a statement issued here, Firestone stated that the Phase One production plant at BK11 was now in operation, and would reach a capacity of 650 000 tpa. The Phase Two plant “’ which would provide an additional 850 000tpa of capacity “’ was on schedule for completion in Q3 of 2010.
The statement added that the BK11 mine plan involved a total of 11.5Mt of kimberlite at an average grade of 8.5cpht and a diamond value of US$155/carat. Life of mine had been calculated at 10 years.
Firestone said it had 21 other kimberlites in the Orapa area, of which 13 were proven to be diamondiferous. The most advanced was BK16.
Firestone Diamonds CEO Philip Kenny commented: “The commencement of production at BK11 is a major milestone for Firestone, as the company is now one of only three listed kimberlite producers worldwide outside of the major mining companies. The combination of cash flow from production at BK11, an extensive portfolio of kimberlites in the Orapa and Tsabong kimberlite fields, and exciting toll treatment opportunities positions Firestone very well for significant growth in Botswana,” he added.