London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM – 06 November 2008
Pangea Diamondfields Plc (PDF) – a mid-tier diamond producer and exploration company with a portfolio of promising African projects – has progressed to the pilot mining phase at its Bakersfield project in the Lichtenburg Diamond Fields, 250km west of Johannesburg.
A company announcement released here said the transition to pilot mining had been achieved with negligible capital expenditure using existing equipment owned by PDF that had been redeployed to the Bakerville Project.
It added that the plant had been commissioned late in October, and was expected to ramp up to a capacity of up to 60 cubic metres per hour of run of mine gravels, by the end of November 2008. It was projected to be cash flow positive from the new year.
Excellent sale results were achieved from the first tender of diamonds from the project in July this year, with an average per carat value of US$1 448 (close to R15 000). Pangea pointed out, however, that market prices for rough diamonds had generally declined since then, and management was currently budgeting for an average per carat value of US$400 (R4 000) for pilot mining.
In the company’s latest resource statement, an inferred resource of 2.17 million m3 was declared at an average recovered grade of 3.22 ct/100m3. As a result of bulk sampling work since the last declared resource, as well as the significant area as yet unexplored, management expects to be able to develop a significantly increased resource at a grade broadly in line with the current estimate, during the pilot mining phase.
The company announcement went on to reveal that a feasibility study to determine the most efficient and cost-effective methodology to fully develop the Bakerville project to commercial scale was currently in progress, with results expected during the first half of 2009. Pangea anticipated a decision to progress to a full scale commercial operation being made in the second half of 2009. Expanding the project to full commercial scale was estimated to cost between US$3 million (R30 million) and US$4 million (R40 million).
Commenting on this development, chief executive Brett Thompson said: “The simple nature of the deposit, and its location in South Africa with excellent infrastructure nearby, bodes very well for a low-cost operation producing good gem-quality diamonds.”
Pangea’s wider portfolio consists of eight alluvial projects located in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Angola and South Africa.