JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Junior miner Frontier Diamonds, which started trading on the ASX in January, has recovered the first diamonds from its Bellsbank kimberlite pipe exploration project, near its Sedibeng diamond mine in South Africa’s Northern Cape province.
The diamonds were recovered from a sample that was treated as part of the hot commissioning of a tailings treatment plant, which Frontier purchased from a local dump retreatment operator. The capital investment of the refurbished plant was about $1.2-million.
The biggest stone recovered from the sample, which was taken from the upper levels of the calcretised kimberlite facies of the pipe, was 1.45 ct.
“The quality of diamonds recovered from the plant commissioning sample is very encouraging and supports our decision to proceed to the next phase in developing the asset,” said Frontier CEO Jan Louw.
He added that Frontier would focus its efforts on increasing the pit layout to access the primary kimberlite pipe and conduct an adequate bulk sample.
Located at the Sedibeng mine, near Delportshoop, the plant will be used as a batch treatment plant for bulk samples from the Bellsbank project, as well as other regional exploration targets, as well as a concentrate retreatment plant to process available tailings material from the Sedibeng mine.
The plant will process about 30 000 t/m of bulk sample material or 90 000 t/m of Sedibeng tailings material.
“The newly commissioned plant facilities give us the added advantage of performing the bulk sample programme at a relatively low overall cost and in an expedited manner,” Louw said, adding that the company was proceeding with an economic assessment of the Bellsbank Pipe.
The pipe is a 130 m by 80 m “blow” on a proven fissure system and was discovered through ground magnetics and gravity surveying.
Besides the Sedibeng mine and Bellsbank development project, Frontier also owns the Star Diamond mine, near Theunissen in the Free Sate. Frontier’s South African subsidiary, Sedi Diamonds, acquired the operating mines from London-listed Petra Diamonds in 2014.