ASX-listed Lucapa Diamond Company and its partners, Empresa Nacional de Diamantes EP (Endiama) and Rosas & Petalas, report that the new XRT large diamond recovery circuit at the Lulo diamond project in Angola is now in commercial operation processing oversize alluvial gravels.
The XRT technology and larger screens will, as part of the new coarse recovery stream at the 150 t/h diamond plant, provide capacity to recover individual diamonds up to 1 100 carats. The new XRT technology is also more effective for the recovery of higher quality, low-luminescing Type IIa diamonds.
As previously announced, Lulo mining company Sociedade Mineira Do Lulo (SML), began stockpiling all oversize material in February 2016 following the recovery of the record 404-carat ‘4th February Stone’, which sold for US$16 million. This oversize stockpile totals approximately 20 000 bulk cubic metres.
Lucapa Chief Executive Stephen Wetherall says the commissioning of the new XRT circuit represents another exciting new phase in the development of the Lulo diamond project.
“We have seen what the implementation of this XRT technology delivered for Lucara – allowing their Karowe mine in Botswana to recover the second largest diamond ever,” said Wetherall. “We are excited to have this XRT recovery technology now fully commissioned as part of our coarse material processing stream at Lulo, where we have already recovered five +100-carat diamonds this year.
"As well as treating the oversize or coarse gravels from daily mining operations, we will selectively process the 20 000 bcm of stockpiled oversize material over time.”
Updating on the exploration programme at Lulo, Lucapa says that a second drill rig and crew have arrived on site. This contract rig, which has PQ core capability, will augment the company-owned Sedidrill rig in advancing the Lulo kimberlite exploration and drilling programme, which aims to identify the primary source or sources of the exceptional alluvial diamonds being mined at Lulo.
A third rig – the new track-mounted Hanjin D&B35 rig purchased by Lucapa – has been shipped to Angola and is expected to arrive in port in Luanda in mid-December for customs clearance.
In addition, a helicopter-borne Time-Domain Electromagnetic (TDEM) survey is scheduled to commence shortly over the Cacuilo River and valley area. This TDEM survey aims to assist the kimberlite exploration programme in identifying other possible non-magnetic kimberlite targets as well as improving target definition on the known targets.