ASX-listed Kimberley Diamonds Ltd (KDL), which operates the newly recommissioned Lerala diamond mine in Botswana, has announced that Noel Halgreen, previously Managing Director of KDL, has resigned from the board and will be leaving KDL in six months after serving out his notice period as a consultant. Alex Alexander becomes Executive Chairman during the transition stage, while KDL searches for a new MD.
Brett Thompson, KDL’s current Chief Technical Officer, has been appointed to the newly created role of Chief Operating Officer, and will be responsible for all mining, operations and corporate functions of the company and its Botswana subsidiary, Lerala Diamond Mines Limited.
The process plant at the Lerala diamond mine in Botswana. The plant was recommissioned earlier this after a major upgrade (photo: KDL).
Thompson is a mining engineer with over 30 years of operational, technical and corporate management experience in Africa, South America and Australia with 15 years in the diamond industry and significant experience in coal, gold/silver and base metals operations.
Prior to joining KDL in March 2015, Thompson worked for five years with Anglo American. Before this, he was the CEO of AIM-listed diamond company, Pangea DiamondFields, and has held senior positions with a number of other diamond juniors operating in Africa.
The management changes come at a time when Lerala is struggling with its ramp up. In its latest presentation on the project, KDL reports that average daily head feed has steadily increased over the ramp-up phase and the plant has proven capable of operating at and above its designed capacity of 200 t/h.
KDL nevertheless notes that “operating the recommissioned plant for three months has revealed shortcomings in some pre-existing elements of the plant. This, combined with the highly abrasive character of the internal waste within the kimberlite ore, has significantly impacted the plant’s ability to operate at maximum capacity on a consistent basis.”
KDL says it is hoping to address these issues over the next four months and puts the cost of remedial measures at A$1,57 million.