TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Construction of Quebec’s only diamond mine was 96% complete at the end of May, builder Stornoway Diamond Corp reported on Monday. The company noted that all critical-path activities continued well within the planned schedule for first ore being delivered to the plant by the end of September, with commercial production expected to get under way by the end of December.
The TSX-listed project developer noted that construction was ahead of schedule when compared with the recently re-baselined plan of 90% (and the initial plan of 82%).
Stornoway advised that all significant equipment and control systems had been installed in the project’s diamond process plant, while a primary crusher and processed kimberlite load-out facility, as well pre-operational verification procedures were well advanced. The project’s power plant, water treatment facility and maintenance facilities were already fully operational.
By the end of May, 8.9-million tonnes of overburden, waste rock and ore had been extracted from the Renard 2, Renard 3 and Renard 65 openpits, representing a performance of 101% against plan, the company advised. This included 697 895 t of ore, at 148% of plan. Ore deliveries to the stockpiles was now taking place at a sufficient rate to start the project’s planned production ramp-up.
Development of the ramp for the underground mine stood at 1 635 m at the end of May, or 82% of plan, compared with 74% at the end of March. Progress on the ramp during April and May was 98% and 132% of plan respectively, and there had been no recurrence of the localised water inflow issue that slowed progress at the start of the year, Stornoway advised.
A second underground development team, originally scheduled for 2017, would be mobilised to site in the third quarter to ensure that the underground mine was completed on schedule.
The forecast cost to complete the project remained within the re-baselined capital budget of C$775-million, Stornoway advised.