JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Production at West Africa-focused Stellar Diamonds’ Mandala diamond mine was expected to increase to 12 000 ct/m from the end of the second quarter, while the Bomboko mine was expected to see an increase in its output to 4 000 ct/m, chairperson Peter Daresbury said on Friday.
The Aim-listed miner earned revenues of $1,19-million from the sale of diamonds from its Mandala and Bomboko mines, in Guinea, in the first six months of its 2010 financial year.
The Mandala mine had produced 34 409 ct during the six months ended March 31, 2010.
A total of 78 491 ct had been produced since the mine started operating in April last year, with total sales to date amounting to 74 793 ct sold for a combined $2,3-million.
Trial mining at the Bomboko mine delivered 2 411 ct during the six months, bringing the operation’s total output to date, to 4 157 ct. Diamond sales from this mine have realised revenues of $417 000.
Daresbury noted in a statement to shareholders that the average 2010 sales prices were significantly higher than those realised last year, as the rough diamond market continued to improve. Recent sales had realised prices of between $38/ct and $42/ct, he added.
In recent months, the diamond miner has been purchasing additional equipment to boost mining and production rates at both operations. This process was nearing completion, stated Daresbury.
Additional earthmoving equipment had been acquired for the Mandala mine, while the installation of a second plant at Bomboko was under way.
It was installing a new 16-foot pan plant and a Flow Sort X-ray machine at the Bomboko mine, which was expected to be completed by the second quarter of the year.
“The immediate focus of the management team is to increase production and revenue from its two existing mines to provide a strong financial platform to deliver growth through [the] development of core kimberlite projects,” said Daresbury.
The increased revenues would provide the necessary funds to implement its exploration and development programme at its Kono and Tongo kimberlite projects, in Sierra Leone, and the Bouro and Droujba projects, in Guinea, in the medium term.
The Kono project, in which Stellar bought a 51% stake from Petra Diamonds in a £900 000 all-share deal in May, had remained on care-and-maintenance during the six months. Stellar planned to resume trial mining once the increased revenues from the Mandala and Bomboko mines were realised.
Bulk sampling of the Tongo and Bouro projects would be undertaken this year.
Stellar had acquired a 5-t/h dense-media separation plant that would process a 1 000-t to 2 000-t sample at the Tongo project, as from June.
Bulk sampling of the Bouro kimberlite would be undertaken at the nearby Mandala processing plant.
Further, Stellar was expecting to complete the definition of a geological resource model for the Droujba project ahead of the start of surface bulk sampling next year. A drill programme would start later this year.
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