Lucara Diamond Corporation, the company that owns Karowe Mine in the Boteti area, last week said its plant optimization program is on schedule and processing of the south lobe ore is expected to commence during the second quarter.
In a media release that announced its first quarter results, the company said its primary focus this year is to complete the plant optimization program so that it can commence mining the expected high value south lobe ore on a sustainable basis during the year. It said the project has advanced very well with construction largely complete and with no disruption to current operations or production.
“The project is forecast to be complete within the US$55 million (close to P532 million) budget. Commissioning has commenced and operational ramp up is expected to be complete during the second quarter of the year. The Company plans to start treating stockpiled south lobe ore during the second half of this year,” the release indicated.
It further pointed out that Karowe’s operating performance was largely in line with plan for the period in terms of ore and waste mined. “Carats recovered were marginally lower than those forecasted. Diamond liberation is expected to improve once the tertiary crusher is commissioned. The operation performed well during the period meeting its operational targets while significant construction activity occurred on site as the Company advanced towards completion of the plant optimization project. The mine recovered 153 specials (+10.8 carats) with an average size of 27.7 carats,” it said.
Lucara’s President and Chief Executive Officer William Lamb was quoted as saying; “We are very pleased with the level of progress of the plant optimization project and the current stage of commissioning. We are excited about the new XRT technology, which has shown exceptional recovery in our testing to date. The recovery of a 342 carat diamond continues to show the quality of the resource and the mine’s revenue generating capability. With the final integration of the XRT machines into the process plant we look forward to being able to sustainably access the south lobe and continue with our record of exceptional diamond recoveries.”
The release said as at March 31, 2015, construction work on site for the project was largely complete. “Subsequent to the end of the first quarter of 2015, most cold commissioning had been completed with hot commissioning under way for the XRT and recovery circuits. The XRT circuit has functioned well and the XRT machines have shown exceptional recovery throughout the testing period. Full plant integration is expected to be complete during the second quarter,” it concluded.