Stornoway Diamond Corp. began commissioning the processing plant at its Renard diamond project in the James Bay region of north-central Quebec in late June. The commissioning process is expected to take several weeks and will include operation of the plant’s crushers, vibrating screens, conveyors, pumps, diamond recovery circuits, and processed kimberlite management systems, first with water and then with ore.

First ore is scheduled to be delivered to the plant at the end of September, and commercial production is now planned to begin before year-end. Initial plant throughput is planned at 6,000 metric tons per day (mt/d), increasing to 7,000 mt/d starting in 2018. Average annual diamond production is forecast at 1.8 million carats/year over the first 10 years of mining, at an average valuation of $155/carat.

The Renard mine will be the first diamond mine in Quebec and will be the only diamond mine in Canada to be accessed by an all-season road.

The Renard project’s probable mineral reserves stand at 22.3 million carats. Indicated mineral resources, inclusive of mineral reserves, total 30.2 million carats.

Pre-production capital cost to develop the Renard project is estimated at C$775 million contained within a life-of-mine capital cost estimate of C$1.05 billion. Life-of-mine average operating costs are estimated at C$56.20/mt or $84.37/carat. Life-of-mine net revenue is forecast at C$4.56 billion, yielding a real-terms cash operating margin of C$2.68 billion.

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