The board of Lucara Diamond Corp has formally approved the $534-million expansion of its Karowe mine, in Botswana, the Canadian miner announced on Wednesday.
The underground mine construction approval follows the financial closure and satisfaction of all conditions precedent to a $220-million debt package, announced in July.
The first $170-million in funding would be available in mid-September, the company stated.
Lucara noted that the underground expansion, which would extend the Karowe mine’s life to at least 2040, was fully financed.
The capital costs would be met from a combination of the facilities, projected cashflows from the openpit mine during the underground construction period, and the equity financings totalling C$41-4-million - which closed in July.
Reporting on progress at the expansion project, the mining company said that construction efforts had ramped up since the facilities documentation was executed in mid-July.
Ventilation shaft pre-sinking has started with the completion of the first set of cover holes, and a total of four blasts have occurred to date with continued drilling, mucking, and installation of ground support on a 24-hour basis.
The ventilation shaft depth below the shaft collar is currently at about 17 m. Mobilisation to site of the remaining pre-sinking equipment and contractors is under way. Civil work on the remaining ventilation and production shaft infrastructure is progressing well, with mobilisation of temporary generators and civils works associated with the generator pad complete.