Frontier Diamonds recovers first stones from new South African mine
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Diamond miner Frontier has discovered stones as big as 1.45 carats at a new site close to its main Sedibeng project in South Africa.
The new Bellsbank site is 10km from the 74 per cent owned Sedibeng Diamond Mine operations which is close to infrastructure and lies about 40km north of Delportshoop in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
Samples from the upper levels of Bellsbank’s kimberlite rock suggests a strong possibility that lower levels of the mine contain diamonds similar to those at the nearby site.
Shares in the company (ASX:FDX) jumped 3 per cent on the news to trade at 17c.
The find will spur further evaluation of Bellsbank, including resource and reserve estimation and mine planning, due to start shortly.
“The quality of diamonds recovered from the plant commissioning sample is very encouraging and supports our decision to proceed to the next phase in developing the asset,” chief Jan Louw said.
“We will now focus our efforts on increasing the pit layout to enable us to access the primary kimberlite pipe and conduct an adequate bulk sample.”
To date, Frontier has mainly focused on the development of two operating mines in South Africa — The Star and Sedibeng Mines — which it acquired from Petra Diamonds, the country’s biggest diamond producer and the world’s fourth largest.
The discoveries at this new site were not outlined in the company’s prospectus – and could present a significant upside considering the proximity to its processing plant.
Excavation has been underway since March 2017 and production should occur in 2 months time based on the fact that they are only a few metres from the Kimberlite.
A newly commissioned bulk sample processing plant can operate as a dual batch facility, either processing bulk samples from Bellsbank and other regional exploration targets or as a concentrate re-treatment plant for tailing from the Sedibend Mine.
Processing can support 50 tonnes per hour kimberlite ore throughput or 150 tonnes per hour tailings feed throughput.
At its commissioning, the chief said the equipment put them ahead of the rest.
“The speed and cost with which this plant has been put into operation readily evidences one of Frontier’s key competitive advantages – its close relationship with its associate company’s deep in-house engineering and operational expertise,” Mr Louw said.
Mining in South Africa has been given a significant boost with the recent election of President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The pro-mining, pro-farming and pro-foreign-investment President has already delivered what some have called ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ for mining and overall business in the country.