Stornoway Diamond Corp has achieved commercial production at Renard, Québec’s first diamond mine. Commercial production at Renard is defined as an average processing rate of 60% of plant name-plate capacity over a 30 day period. This was achieved on December 3, 2016, with an average processing rate of 4,120 t/d over the preceding 30 day period compared to a name-plate capacity of 6,000 t/d. Pursuant to the terms of Stornoway’s financing agreements, Stornoway formally declared commercial production on the first day of the month following the month in which it is achieved, which was January 1, 2017. The company expects to continue the ramp-up of the process plant to full production over the next two quarters.
Matt Manson, President and CEO of Stornoway: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire Renard team on achieving this important milestone well within schedule and budget, and with quality workmanship from the beginning. The attainment of commercial production marks the end of the project’s capital expense period, and our final capital costs are forecast to be comfortably within the reduced C$775 million estimate set out in February 2016. Our production ramp-up continues, with three diamond sales scheduled for the first quarter of 2017.”
The Renard mine is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region of north-central Québec. On July 8, 2014, Stornoway announced the completion of a $946 million project financing transaction to fully fund the project to production, and construction commenced on July 10, 2014. Processing of ore commenced on July 15, 2016.
In March 2016, Stornoway released the results of an Updated Mine Plan and Mineral Reserve Estimate in March 2016. The study highlighted the potential of the project to become a significant producer of high value rough diamonds over an initial 14 year mine life. Probable Mineral Reserves (NI 43-101), stand at 22.3 Mct. In accordance with the corporation’s September 2015 Mineral Resource estimate, total Indicated Mineral Resources, inclusive of the Mineral Reserve, stand at 30.2 Mct, with a further 13.35 Mct classified as Inferred Mineral Resources, and 33.0 to 71.1 Mct classified as non-resource exploration upside. Average annual diamond production is forecast at 1.8 Mct/y over the first 10 years of mining, at an average valuation of $155/ct based on March 2016 terms.