TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Stornoway Diamond Corporation, the builder of Quebec’s only diamond mine, has started commissioning the Renard project’s plant two months ahead of schedule, the company advised on Wednesday.
“The formal commencement of plant commissioning is a major milestone for the Renard project and our construction management team. It has been achieved approximately eight weeks ahead of our rebaselined construction schedule, which was already a five-month improvement on the execution plan established in July 2014,” stated president and CEO Matt Manson.
The TSX-listed company said pre-operational verification activities had been completed and all main plant equipment and control systems had now been installed and tested. The handover from Stornoway’s construction management team to the plant operating staff had also taken place.
Stornoway advised that commissioning activities of the process plant would take place over the next several weeks, involving operating the plant’s crushers, vibrating screens, conveyors, pumps, diamond recovery circuits and processed kimberlite management systems, first with water and then ore.
Desjardins Capital Markets analyst Michael Parkin advised in a note to clients on Wednesday that, while it had previously speculated that the plant might be operational by the time an analyst mine tour was scheduled to take place on August 16, he expected that, when analysts and institutional investors saw the plant in action, it could prove to be a significant catalyst for the stock.
The analyst added that Desjardins’s current company valuation did not price in any potential upside from the recovery of large stones, which he believed to be a distinct possibility based on early bulk sampling results.
Since the start of the year, Stornoway had gained more than 40%, changing hands early on Wednesday at C$1 apiece.