PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mining has started at the Kaye openpit, at the Merlin diamond mine, in the Northern Territory, owner Merlin Diamonds said on Wednesday.
The company reported that a short mining campaign had started in November, following the successful dewatering of the Kaye pit, with the campaign aimed at supplementing the ore stockpiles prior to the onset of the wet season.
Some 16 000 t of ore have been mined to date.
Meanwhile, dewatering of the adjacent Ector pit has also started, in preparation for future mining.
The company said it was planning to continue treatment operations throughout the wet season, by treating ore from the stockpiles, while ramping up treatment operations and diamond recovery from a single shift.
To date, some 38 000 t of ore have been crushed and screened for treatment through the separation plant.
The Merlin mine is located south of Borroloola and comprises 14 kimberlite pipes. Nine of these pipes were subject to openpit mining over a five-year period starting in 1998. The operations ceased in 2003 having produced 507 000 ct of diamonds, and Merlin acquired the project from mining giant Rio Tinto in 2004.