JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – BlueRock Diamonds continues work ahead of the planned restart of processing run-of-mine material at its Kareevlei operation in the Northern Cape, in January.
In August, the mine suffered a weeks-long suspension ordered by the Department of Mineral Resources, after an inspection on July 6 unveiled required changes to processing plant procedures, guarding rails on the plant and trackless mobile machinery.
The Aim-listed miner raised £750 000, before expenses, through an equity placing earlier this month to undertake upgrades.
The company on Tuesday said that work that started in late October to reposition the pans and scrubber had been finished ahead of schedule and was expected to improve the steady flow of material into the pans with subsequent efficiency and grade improvement. “Testing of these modifications using stockpiled ore will take place over the next few weeks,” it added.
Orders have now been placed for the construction of new primary crushing and pre-screening circuits.
These new elements of the operation are expected to be completed by mid-January 2017. This is the biggest change to BlueRock's process and at the highest capital cost of about R2.5-million.
The board expects these changes to reduce variable costs and provide a more consistent product to the processing plant, which should enhance processing efficiency and improve grade.
Following a competitive tender, the company entered a contract with African Mining and Crushing to take over the drilling and blasting, and loading and hauling, work at the mine with operational and cost benefits expected to follow from this new relationship.
Assessment of water consumption is also continuing and the company is relining and repositioning the main primary water reservoir, after having discovered water leakage from the existing reservoir.
This work is not expected to add materially to costs. In addition, the company continues to make key hires to support the anticipated gradual ramp-up of production and move to 24-hour processing.
“The significant upgrades are all within budget and on time at this stage. We still have much to do before the planned production ramp-up in January, but I am confident our team can deliver what is required,” CEO Adam Waugh commented.