Mountain Province Diamonds said that Gahcho Kué has achieved mechanical completion of the primary crusher and that commissioning of the process plant continues to progress well. Based on the progress to date, Gahcho Kué expects to commence production during Q3 2016. The specific timing within Q3 will depend on progress with the remaining commissioning.
Mountain Province president and CEO Patrick Evans commented: “We are pleased with the continuing excellent progress at Gahcho Kué and excited that first production will commence within the next few months. Key areas of focus are finalization of commissioning of the process plant, remaining earthworks, pre-stripping and mining of kimberlite, as well as preparations for operational readiness.”
Gahcho Kué’s safety performance remains very good. In May 2016, the mine surpassed an impressive one million hours worked without a lost-time injury. The permanent staff complement of the mine now stands at 290, including 91 experienced employees transferred from the De Beers Snap Lake mine.
In anticipation of first production, Mountain Province has concluded all the necessary contract arrangements to be in a position to receive, sort and sell its share of diamond production from Gahcho Kué. The Company’s diamond marketing team, under the leadership of Reid Mackie, Vice President of Diamond Marketing, has been complemented with appointment of Mark Pearton as manager of diamond operations and Elizabeth Swanson and manager of diamond analysis. Ms. Swanson and Mr. Pearton have considerable diamond experience, principally with Rio Tinto Diamonds.
Mr. Evans concluded: “The project also continues to meet our lending group’s tests-to-completion with US$47M advanced to fund cash calls during Q2 2016. A total of US$278M has been drawn against the US$370M facility.”
The Gahcho Kué Project consists of a cluster of four diamondiferous kimberlites, three of which have a probable mineral reserve of 35.4 million tonnes grading 1.57 carats per tonne for total diamond content of 55.5 million carats. The Gahcho Kué diamond mine is expected to produce an average of 4.5 million carats a year over a 12 year mine life.