Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) listed Kimberley Diamonds Limited (KDL) could raise annual diamond production from 120, 000 to 700, 000 carats with the acquisition of Mantle Diamonds Ltd including its wholly owned Lerala Diamond Mine in Botswana, KDL Executive Chairman Alex Alexander has said.
Expressing jubilance at Lerala’s completed acquisition, under maintenance and care, though, since July 2012, Alexander said Mantle marks a major milestone achievement in Kimberley history.
Hoisting Lerala to the KDL Group augurs well for the diversified diamond producer growth strategy as the inchoate is targeting an annually 400, 000 carats production (cpa).
Alexander hinted Kimberley intends to recommence production at Lerala in 2014 which has a 15-year mining licence covering an area of 21.86 km2. To expedite diamond production, a 230 tonnes per hour (tph) processing and recovery plant situated on site will be modified to reach 1.9 metric tonnes per hour (Mtph) of ore throughput.
According to Alexander, “The anticipated purchase of Lerala Diamond Mine provides Kimberley with an excellent development opportunity exceeding our flagship Ellendale Diamond Alluvial Diamond Project (EDADP) and the recently acquired Argyle Smoke Creek Alluvial Diamond Project (ASCADP).” With effect from September 17, 2013 KDL announced to ASX that Lerala contained probable reserves of 8.38 Mt with an average grade of 29.68 per hundred tonnes (cpht) and current6 years mine life at full production levels of 400, 000 cpa.
“Given bullish rough diamond prices, Kimberley is well positioned to capitalize on the windfall. We will continue to look for further acquisition opportunities with great potential. KDL owns and operates West Australian-based EDP supplying approximately half the world’s rare fancy yellow diamonds and currently producing about 120, 000 cpa.
“Lecara’s acquisition increases KDL’s potential marketable production of gem and near-gem quality diamonds from the current production of 120, 000 carats per annum (cpa) to more 700, 000 cpa. In it is estimated that the recently announced re-opening of Ellendale E4 mine will annualized treatment rate of 2.8 Mt per year, while Lerala is expected to contribute 400, 000 cpa.
“KDL plans a second acquisition of a near-production diamond mining asset within a year, following the recent purchase of (ASCADP), leading to the international expansion of the asset base.
“Entry into the Botswana market, Africa’s largest producer of diamonds (by value), will provide further acquisition opportunities. Kimberley’s interests in two joint venture exploration project in Canada managed by Diavik Diamonds Mines and free carried during the ongoing exploration phase”, says Alexander.
Lerala, situated in North-Eastern Botswana 34 km north of the Martin’s Drift Border Post with SA, comprises five diamondiferous pipes totaling 6.66ha. De Beers discovered the kimberlites in the early 1990’s and subjected them to limited mining by DiamonEX Ltd in 2008. Of late, Mantle operated the mine between February and July 2012, producing 73, 403 carats from 0.26Mt at 28.2cpht.