Lucara Diamond has provided an update on the ongoing feasibility study at its Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.
Lucara is examining the viability of a potential underground mine operation at the site in order to extend the mine life by an additional 10 years.
Karowe has been in operation since 2012 and is one of the leading producers of large type IIa diamonds in the world.
After releasing the positive preliminary economic assessment (PEA) results last year, Lucara initiated a technical program to support a feasibility study for the proposed underground mine at Karowe.
In total, US$23 million of the US$29 million 2018 budget was used to support the advancement work, resulting in significant de-risking of the key technical components associated with the potential underground development.
The program included a mineral resource update, geotechnical drilling of the country rock and AK06 kimberlite, hydrogeological drilling and modelling, and mining trade off studies to address risks and issues identified during the PEA.
The updated resource model completed in the latter half of 2018, increased the indicated resource by 54 percent in the south lobe.
“The updated mineral resource completed in 2018 highlighted the important contribution of the higher-grade, higher-value EM/PK(S) geological unit as we mine deeper in the south lobe and has necessarily re-focused our approach to the Karowe underground study,” company CEO Eira Thomas said in the announcement.
According to Thomas, the EM/PK(S) area has produced some of Karowe’s most valuable diamonds, including the 1,109 carat Lesedi La Rona gem and the 813 carat Constellation stone.
“In 2019 we will be evaluating various mining scenarios that have the potential to access this valuable ore as early as possible in the underground mining schedule,” she added. “The feasibility study will be completed by in the second half of 2019.”
US$14.8 million has been approved to complete the 2019 technical program and final feasibility study.
Lucara shares were down 2.52 percent on Thursday, to C$1.55.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.