Canadian mining company Etruscan is to list its newly created subsidiary, Etruscan Diamonds, on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the JSE "soon", following preinitial public offering private placement financing in March this year.
Anthony Hayes, Etruscans director of investor relations, says Etruscan Diamonds is on the path to unlock the diamond asset value on properties being acquired by the company along a 5 000-square-kilometre diamond belt that has never been commercially exploited, although it has a known production of 667 000 cts from 1926 to 1984.
Hayes says Etruscan intends to establish a dominant land position in Ventersdorp.
It currently holds two mining permits at Klipgat diamond mine and Tirisano diamond mine, and has 17 prospecting permits as well as five pending prospecting permits. All these cover an area of 800 square kilometres.
Klipgat and Tirisano represent the first phase of development of the properties and will provide the key technical parameters for determining the location and size of other operations on other properties in the Ventersdorp district.
To ensure its hold on the area, Etruscan is acquiring a 50% in its black economic empowerment explorations partner Mvelapandas interest in Tirisano.
Hayes outlined the companys Blue Gum project in three areas. Hartbeestlaagte boasts an independent resource estimate compliant with NI 43-101 and Samrec of 16,2-million cubic metres of inferred resource, grading 3,18 cts for each 100 cubic metres (340000 cts). At Nooitgedacht, an estimation by RSG Global in 2003 put the resource at 12,3-million cubic metres, grading 2,8 cts for each100 cubic metres. A total of 104-million cubic metres was processed, producing diamonds valued at more than $480/ct. No resource estimations have been made at Zwartrand.
Additional drilling and bulk sampling to upgrade current resources and to identify additional resources is being done, says Hayes.
He adds that the company is upgrading its bulk sample plant to 50 000 cubic metres a month and restarting the Tirisano mill at 50,000 cubic metres a month to give the project a 100 000-cubic-metre a month capacity.
Etruscan, with a market capitalisation of $325-million, has been investing in Africa for over 12 years now, focusing mostly on gold the diamond focus is relatively new.
The companys gold interests are mainly along the West African goldbelt, a region geologically endowed with some of the worlds richest alluvial gold deposits. The prime properties are in Burkina Faso, at Youga (under construction) and Agbaou (under feasibility).
The two properties are expected to produce more than two-million ounces of gold when in full production. Production at Youga is expected to begin this quarter.