Firestone Diamonds, the Aim quoted diamond mining explorer, punched-the-air at progress made regarding its exploration and tailing┬á projects in Botswana, saying it is in course to see through its mining construction plans during this quarter.
Firestone ┬áDiamonds said┬á its find at Tsabong┬á has a inferred resource of┬á 12 million tones that contain approximately ┬áhigh grade and value 830,000 carats and said the move embolden it to go ahead with the┬á target of┬á deciding on ┬áthe mine development during the fourth quarter of this year.
“We are very pleased with the progress that we have made┬á in Botswana over the past year. We continue to work towards making a mine development decision on BK 11 before the end of 2009 and signing an agreement with Debswana on the Jwaneng tailing project in 2010,” Chief Executive Officer for Firestone Diamonds, Phillip Kenny, said in the report.
He also praised the recovery of the rough diamond market saying it┬ásupports the ambitions of his company.
In its annual results to the end of June this year, which were released last week, Firestone Diamonds said ┬á┬áthe “environmental impact assessment┬á (study has been) recently approved, and mining application┬á been readied for submission in Q 4, 2009,” the company said in the report.
It said it was upbeat that production will commence┬á in mid 2010, adding that the mine construction┬á will be funded through its existing ┬áwar chest. In July, the company “unconditionally” placed 35.8 million new shares on the market at┬á 20 pence in a move aimed at raising about P 72 million.
“Net proceeds of the placing to be used to develop and commission a mine at BK11, commence resource development at BK16 and provide general working capital for the Company,”┬á the company stated then.
“The primary focus on development of a new mining operation┬á at BK 11 and concluding┬á Jwaneng tailing agreement┬á in 2010,” the company stated last week in its annual report.
The tailing agreement┬áwas initially scheduled to have been completed by end of this year but┬áthe plans have been delayed to┬á early next year to ensure that the financing clause ┬áis finalised.
The project is aimed to yield about 2 million┬á tonnes per annum, starting from 2011.
Further, Firestone signaled “significant progress” made regarding the Jwaneng Tailings Project, which provides an excellent opportunity for the company to┬á further expand its operations in Botswana.
The Jwaneng Tailing exercise will involve trying to find better quality stone that might have escaped the old technology that have been in use at the mine since the┬á beginning of the mine in 1980s.
The recovery in the rough diamond prices is in line with┬á analysts’ predictions made during the last quarter of last year when prices hit their lows as a result of the global financial crisis.
Since the beginning of the second quarter of this year, rough diamond prices have recovered by 25 percent after slumping down to 68 percent by┬á last year and even into the first half of this year.
The move┬á has forced the giant diamond giant producing┬á companies like Debswana to suspend some of the mining operation┬á for four months in a bid to avoid a glut in the diamond pipeline.
Firestone is the largest holder of mineral rights in Botswana’s diamondiferous kimberlite fields, controlling over 29,000 square kilometers around the major Orapa and Jwaneng mines and the entire Tsabong kimberlite field.
Firestone has 95 kimberlites in its portfolio, of which 24 have been proven to be diamondiferous. Sixteen of Firestone’s kimberlites are at the bulk sampling stage, of which BK11 is the most advanced.