London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 07 July 2008 – Emerging diamond producer DiamondCorp plc – which expects to generate revenue of up to US$1.5 billion (more than R10 billion) from its newly launched Lace diamond mine in South Africa – recovered 27 103 carats of diamonds from the first-phase tailings re-treatment project in the first six months of 2008.
The Lace mine – 74%-owned by DiamondCorp – is located 200 km south-west of Johannesburg on the outskirts of Kroon stad, in the Free State province.
In a market update published here on activities in the six months ended 30 June 2008, the company revealed that the recovered diamonds had included a 34.84-carat non-gem diamond. Recoveries had averaged 6.1 carats per hundred tonnes, and approximately 70% of diamonds recovered had been of gem quality.
The update added that 19 214 carats of gem diamonds had sold at tender in Johannesburg for US$1.163 million (close to R9.5 million) at an average price of US$61 R490)per carat.
It went on to reveal that accelerated development of Phase Two underground mining at the Lace diamond mine was now 14 months ahead of original schedule. A new 4m x 4m decline was advancing at a rate of 120m per month, and it was expected that the Lace satellite kimberlite pipe would be reached in the next three months.
Phase Two involves capital expenditure of approximately R100 million (US$12.8 million) over two years to achieve underground production of 4,000 tonnes of kimberlite per day.
About 35 million tonnes of kimberlite have been outlined in the main Lace pipe between the 240m and the 855m levels. Up to a further 7 million tonnes exists above the 240m level, but is not taken into account in the company`s resource estimates due to the existence of old workings.
Commenting on the period, DiamondCorp CEO Paul Loudon said: “DiamondCorp`s operations have progressed significantly over the past six months. First pass recoveries from the tailings re-treatment operation are now in line with our original estimates, and issues with power supply and the re-crush circuit have been addressed. At the same time, the development of the Lace underground project is now 14 months ahead of the original schedule, with initial kimberlite recovery from the Lace satellite pipe expected by September 2008.”