PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Junior Gibb River Diamonds has stepped up to the plate at the now defunct Ellendale diamond mine, in Western Australia, with the company accepting Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston’s offer to apply for new tenements at the project area.
The Minister has also invited India Bore Diamond Holdings to apply for other tenements at the site.
The Western Australian government last year launched its search for expressions of interest (EOI) from mining companies to reopen the mine, which was operational between 2002 and 2015, when the operator of the mine, Kimberley Diamond Company, went into administration.
During its mine life, the two open cuts at Ellendale produced almost 1.3-million carats of gem and industrial-quality diamonds.
During operation, Ellendale produced about half of the world's Fancy Yellow diamonds. Geological re-examination of the ground confirms there are prospects of further discoveries.
“It's not going to happen overnight, but restarting mining operations at the former Ellendale mine will be a high point in the rejuvenation of diamond exploration and mining in the Kimberley.
"It has taken 12 months to get to this point, but the state government's tendering process is highly confidential and very thorough, so it is pleasing to have the EOI process wrapped up,” Johnston said.
Before mining activities can commence, the companies will need to undertake more diamond exploration in their new tenure, conduct extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region and develop mining plans for approval.
After the mine closed in 2015, the government created an exemption area under Section 19 of the Mining Act to allow miners to apply for new mining tenure.