TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – TSX- and NYSE-listed Dominion Diamond says total production from its 40%-owned Diavik diamond mine rose by a fifth during the first three months of the year, mainly as a result of improved grades in each of the kimberlite pipes.
Production at the mine, located in the North West Territories, was ahead of plan by about 39% and an upward revision of the plan was under consideration for the end of the second quarter.
The company on Tuesday said Diavik produced 1.9-million carats from 500 000 t of ore, compared with 1.6-million carats from 500 000 t of ore processed in the comparable quarter of the previous year.
The average ore grade processed was 3.87 ct/t, compared with 3.03 ct/t in the comparable quarter of 2012.
Dominion said it had, together with joint venture partner Rio Tinto, approved a new mine plan and budget for the year, which expected the mine to produce about six-million carats from about 1.6-million tonnes of ore, with a further 200 000 t processed from stockpile ore.
Mining activities would be exclusively underground, with about 700 000 t expected to be sourced from A-154 North, 500 000 t from A-154 South, and 400 000 t from the A-418 kimberlite pipes.
Included in the estimated production for the year was about 600 000 ct from reprocessed plant rejects (RPR) and 100 000 ct from the improved recovery process for small diamonds. The company noted these RPR and small diamond recoveries were not included in the company's reserves and resource statement and were, therefore, incremental to production.
As a result of the mine’s improved production metrics, development of A-21, the last of the Diavik mine’s kimberlite pipes in the original mine plan, had been deferred owing to the decreased urgency of development following the identification of extensions to the existing pipes.
Although these extension areas could not be recognised as ore yet, owing to insufficient definition work, the company expected to extend the life of the existing developed pipes.
The A-21 kimberlite pipe was currently the subject of a prefeasibility study, which envisioned the pipe to be mined by openpit methods.
Dominion’s stock traded at C$15.78 apiece on the TSX on Tuesday.