All the facility expansions under way at the Krone-Endora project, in Limpopo, are on track for completion by the end of the year, says Canadian junior mining company Diamcor Mining CEO Dean Taylor.
“The last year was very busy, with final preparations in terms of infrastructure, our processing plant, security and a host of other items being successfully finalised. “The completion of the infield dry-screening plant and securing the water use licence have been key steps, enabling us to move forward . . . we believe the current upgrades should address all optimisation opportunities identified by past testing and commissioning exercises.”
Diamcor’s 5 888 ha Krone-Endora project is directly adjacent to diamond miner De Beers’ flagship Venetia diamond mine, with its deposits having been identified as being from the direct shift and erosion of material from Venetia.
The opencast project employs low-cost strip-mining methods and work on its expanded recovery facilities started in May. Diamcor is targeting processing capabilities of about 500 t/h at the infield dry-screening plant, which is designed to reduce the amount of material by about 60% through the removal of fines smaller than 1 mm through a dry-screening process. The main treatment plant is then used to process the remaining material, with an ultimate processing target of 150 t/h to 200 t/h set for the facility.
Initial developments on the recovery facilities focused on processing material between 1 mm and 15 mm, with material between 15 mm and 45 mm being stockpiled. However, a new crushing circuit, operational since the end of November, will enhance recoveries by liberating any diamonds held in the larger calcretised material that was previously stockpiled.
The circuit will potentially also recover diamonds larger than 15 mm in a dedicated large diamond recovery circuit, which is being installed at the project’s main treatment plant. All material up to 45 mm will be processed concurrently moving forward and about 550 000 t of previously stockpiled large material will also be processed.
Taylor says Diamcor has completed extensive work to advance the project to its current state. Once complete, processing volumes and operational efficiencies will be greatly enhanced and the inclusion of large material will allow for improved overall recoveries and the potential recovery of larger diamonds in future, he adds.
“All efforts under way are aimed at aiding us in arriving at initial production decisions for the project as soon as possible.”
Expansions at the project’s main treatment plant also include an increase in the size of the plant’s dense-media separation unit to support added processing volumes, the installation of four new X-ray diamond recovery units and the expansion of the final recovery and sorting facilities.
Three of the X-ray units have been earmarked for use on small and midsized fractions, with the fourth being dedicated to the large diamond recovery circuit. Additional items aimed at improving water consumption efficiencies and the recovery of wastewater for long-term use are also being completed as part of the treatment plant expansion process, as are modules aimed at upgrading, automating and expanding the project’s sorting facilities.
Taylor highlights that many of the upgrade components are being fabricated offsite in a modular fashion to decrease the impact on current operations during installation. Once installation is complete, the upgrades are collectively designed to enable Diamcor to test and evaluate potential increases in initial processing volumes of up to 100% and facilitate additional expanded trial-mining exercises that will enable the company to arrive at initial production decisions for the near term.