Stellar Diamonds plc exported to Antwerp its first diamond parcel containing 941 carats from its 75 percent-owned Baoulé kimberlite pipe in Guinea. A sale is expected later this month.
The parcel included gem-quality diamonds of 9.2 carats, 5.5 carats, 5.1 carats, 4.7 carats and 4.3 carats in size. In Antwerp, the diamonds will undergo cleaning, sorting and valuation prior to this month's planned sale. The export was completed in accordance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and export royalties were paid in Guinea in accordance with local mining law, notes the West Africa-focused diamond development company.
According to Stellar, this first sale will test the market for the Baoulé diamonds and is expected to be the first of regular export and sales to take place in the coming year.
"This first diamond export from Baoulé is a milestone for the company ahead of realising our first cash-flow which is expected when the goods are sold in the near future," says Stellar Diamonds Chief Executive Karl Smithson, who adds that the company anticipates a diamond export and sale every two months during 2015.
Trial Mining Production
The company also reports that trial mining of the five-hectare Baoulé kimberlite pipe is "progressing well," with a total of 1,206 carats, at a +1.25mm cut off, having been recovered to date, with an average grade of 15 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht). The recovery has yielded 85 stones greater than 1 carat as well as a number of stones over 2 carats, including the above-mentioned gem-quality diamonds over 4 carats that have been shipped to Antwerp.
"This would suggest that the pipe is host to a large stone size distribution and justifies the strategy of trial mining 100,000 to 200,000 tonnes of kimberlite over the coming year in order to determine the presence of large, high-value stones in the pipe," says Stellar.
According to Smithson, the company is "particularly pleased" with the regular occurrence of gem-quality stones of up to 9 carats in size from the limited processing to date. "As this region of Guinea is renowned for its large diamonds of over 100 and 200 carats in size mined from alluvial mining, we are hopeful that we may recover yet larger, high value diamonds as we continue to process higher volumes of kimberlite over the coming months," adds Smithson.
The company further reports that the plant is now running at target capacity of an average of 55 tonnes of wet kimberlite per hour, which will yield 22,000 tonnes per month if maintained. If the existing processing rates are sustained, the target production of 2,000 carats per month is expected to be met, assuming an average grade of 15cpht so far realized.