London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 31 March 2009 – DiamondCorp plc – an emerging South African diamond producer incorporated in the United Kingdom – has announced that commissioning of the new primary crushing circuit at its Lace diamond mine in the Free State has commenced on schedule, completing the plant modifications required for Phase 2 underground mining.
DiamondCorp managing director and CEO Paul Loudon, said: “This achievement marks an important step in our development as a long-life underground diamond mining company, and paves the way for processing of kimberlite from the Lace pipe to commence again for the first time since 1930.”
A statement released here revealed that over the next month, approximately 50 000 tonnes of kimberlitic material remaining from previous mining would be processed to commission the new crushing circuit. Once the circuit was operating to design specification, the plant would be purged and a bulk sample of freshly mined kimberlite from the satellite pipe would be processed to determine grade. Immediately after the satellite pipe sample had been processed, the plant was scheduled to commence processing potentially high-grade coherent kimberlite which was being accessed by a new drive off the 4m x 4m decline.
Meanwhile, the statement added, diamonds recovered from the satellite pipe sample would be sold to determine carat value, so that by the second half of 2009 the outstanding grade and carat value questions at Lace under commercial mining conditions would have been answered.
The initial mining rate from Phase 2 underground development at Lace is 1 000 tonnes per day, with plans to increase this to 3 000 tonnes per day in the second half of 2009.
DiamondCorp said that approximately 35 million tonnes of kimberlite had been outlined in the main Lace pipe between the 240m and the 855m levels at a predicted average grade of 42 carats per hundred tonnes, containing almost 14 million carats. Up to a further 7 million tonnes of kimberlite existed above the 240m level, but had not been taken into account in the company’s resource estimates due to the existence of old workings. A further 3.5 million tonnes of kimberlite also existed in the satellite pipe 30m to the west of the main pipe.
Earlier this month, DiamondCorp sold a small parcel of diamonds recovered late last year from the Phase 1 Lace tailings re-treatment.
Commenting on the tender price, Paul Loudon said: “We are starting to see some stability returning to the market for small diamonds as a result of the massive supply cuts by the major producers. While our March price is down 40% from the same time last year, it is 32% higher than the price we received last November for similar tailings goods.”