Monday, September 10, 2007

Significant grade increase recorded at West African Diamond's Sierra Leone operation


West African Diamonds plc, the Irish AIM listed diamond and precious metals explorer and developer, has announced a significant grade increase in samples from its wholly owned Pipe 3 project in Sierra Leone.

The Dense Media Separator (DMS) plant has completed the audit work on Pipe 3.  This builds on the results obtained from the 20,000 tonnes of kimberlite extracted between June 2004 and October 2005.

Previous processing of the kimberlite yielded 1,075.49 carats (ct) (5,670 diamonds) worth $198 a carat at a grade of 5.26 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht).  The audit work re-assessed diamond values and grades.

  • The diamonds from the 2004-5 exercise were re-valued in June 2007 by Overseas Diamonds N.V at USD228ct.
  • 553-tons of tailings from the Pan Plant 2004-5 sampling campaign was re-treated through the DMS plant and produced 387 diamonds and 43.65 carats.  This gives a raw tailings grade of 7.8 cpht.
  • 387-tons of stockpiled untreated kimberlite from Pipe 3 were treated through the DMS plant and realised 618 diamonds and 78.80 carats, giving a raw kimberlite grade of 19.3 cpht.

The DMS plant is now being integrated with the 150 tonne per hour (tph) gold plant on WAD’s Plant 11 Tailings Resource operation. This project is moving to final commissioning, with first production likely to be in the next four weeks.  Work in the vicinity of Pipe 3 will now focus on a volumetric assessment of Pipe 3 and the contiguous kimberlite dyke swarm. A review of the economic options and scoping study for the pipe and dykes is being undertaken.

James Campbell, West African Diamonds Deputy Chairman, commented, “The latest results from Pipe 3 support the earlier findings that the ‘raw’ kimberlite probably contains about 19 cpht of high quality diamonds. At a value of over USD200 per carat, this suggests a value per tonne of ore of about $40. With the significant increase in the in-situ value, WAD will immediately commence work on a scoping study to assess the economic viability of this increasingly attractive diamond resource.”

Significant grade increase recorded at West African Diamond's Sierra Leone operation