TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The developer of Quebec’s first diamond mine Stornoway Diamond Corp has completed analysing the bulk sample it took from its flagship Renard project, in north-central Quebec, resulting in the company lifting its Canadian National Instrument 43-101-compliant resource by 14% to 27.1-million carats.
The update followed the company successfully completing the Renard 65 bulk sample earlier in the year and incorporated refinements to the geological models and diamond content estimates of certain other kimberlites made since the project's previous mineral resource statement was published in January 2011.
The updated resource included converting 2.3-million carats, comprising 7.86-million tonnes grading 29.3 ct per 100 t of near-surface Renard 65 inferred resources to the indicated category, which meant the kimberlite could be exploited through openpit mining to a depth of 150 m.
The total inferred resource at the project was estimated to stand at 16.9-million carats, and Stornoway said 25.7-million to 47.8-million carats had been designated a target for further exploration to a depth of 775 m.
"This openpit ore will allow us to utilise the designed expansion capacity of our plant from 6 000 t/d to 7 000 t/d and is expected to provide for an extended reserve tail for the project. Renard represents one of the world's most important new sources of high-value diamonds,” Stornoway president and CEO Matt Manson said.
Stornoway Diamonds earlier this month received environmental approval from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for its C$752-million Renard mine, paving the way for construction to get under way.
The TSX-listed company now has all the major approvals in hand for the project, after receiving its mining lease in October last year, and its Québec certificate of authorisation in December.
When Stornoway opens the mine road later this year, Renard will also be the first fully permitted diamond mining project in Canada with a permanent road.
The company expects to produce about 1.6-million carats a year from the mine, which is located 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region.
The company’s TSX-listed shares rose 1.89% to C$0.54 apiece in early morning trade on Wednesday.