Lucara Diamonds said its AK6 mine project in Botswana is making an excellent progress since it took off from delays associated with industrial action in South Africa.
In an update, the BSE quoted mining outfit advanced from 55 percent complete at the end of Q2 to 84 percent complete at the end of Q3, which is as per the August re-baselined schedule, which reflects the impact of the steel industry strike in July.
“During the quarter, engineering, procurement and fabrication were essentially completed in support of construction activities and the focus of the EPCM contractors and Boteti is fully on the AK6 project site activities,” Lucara said.
“The project is still trending within the initial capital budget, and expenditure to end Q3 is 46 percent of budget with a total of 83 percent of the approved capital budget being committed.”
In addition to the civils, structural and mechanical activities, in Q3 building works, piping and electrical installation contractors commenced work on site.
Lucara said by the end of Q3, over 3km of piping around the open pit and to the process plant raw water dam had been installed. It added that equipping of the required eight dewatering wells is on schedule for delivery of water to the process facility for commissioning.
Lucara CEO, William Lamb, said great progress is being made on both of our main projects. It’s been exciting to witness the transformation of the AK6 project over the last 12 months.
“Soon, AK6 will join the ranks of producing diamond mines – a rare and exclusive community,” Lamb said.
The company has awarded the medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV), communications and instrumentation contracts and the MV contractor has mobilised to site and work and is progressing well. The LV, communications and instrumentation contractor will be mobilising to site in October.
The project is still trending within the initial capital budget, and expenditure to end Q3 is 46 percent of budget with a total of 8 percent of the approved capital budget being committed.
The AK6 sub-station is currently being commissioned and the overhead power-line from the Orapa sub-station to site has been completed. The permanent tie in at the Orapa substation will be completed before the end of October. Initial grid power for commissioning activities will come from a temporary tie in to the Letlhakane line by end of October.
The owner’s team has made excellent progress with recruitment of key operations personnel for site.
The mining contractor has mobilized to site and the sinking cut for the first production bench has commenced – the first blast in the pit took place on October 8. Extraction and stockpiling of ore will start in October in preparation for commissioning activities early in Q1, 2012.
The plant operations and maintenance contractors are busy mobilizing to site and have commenced local recruiting. The contracts management team is working with the Boteti metallurgical team on finalising operational and critical stores holdings and operational procedures.
In Gaborone, the sorting, sales and marketing offices have been completed and senior sorting personnel have been recruited. The stock control software platform has been selected and operational procedures are being developed.
At its Lesotho project, Lucara said Mothae will soon go into a pre-feasibility face after trial mining is nearing completion.