Full steam ahead for Liqhobong diamond project

by Ina King (Potgieter)

Epanko graphite projectFirestone Diamond’s Liqhobong project, in Lesotho’s Berea province, commenced construction in 2014, which allowed the mine owner to narrow its 2015 interim loss to $4.4 million. Construction on the Liqhobong pipe began in June and is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

The Liqhobong Project is expected to commence production by the end of the second quarter of 2016. The site’s main pipe has been surveyed to contain 31 million carats in around 90 Mt of rock, at an average grade of 34.3 carats per 100 t.

The construction effort has been progressing ahead of schedule on a number of work streams despite several challenges, such as excessive topsoil volumes that, combined with a period of above-average regional rainfall, resulted in the loss of several days of work. The R165-million electrical infrastructure development is also progressing well, with connection to the grid expected during the second half of this year.

The Liqhobong Project is one of 124 African diamond projects listed on Africa Mining IQ, and one of eight in Lesotho. The Africa Mining IQ Intelligence Database will monitor and record the project’s progress as it becomes a high-producing source of diamond carats. A team of dedicated researchers will provide detailed information on the continent’s mining projects, which will be updated daily. Updates about new developments, proposed and completed expansions and production expectations on the site can be sent to subscribers through Africa Mining IQ’s email alerts.

“To date, the project has created over 1 000 local jobs in Lesotho, with R1.28 billion of the R1.43 billion of the engineering, procurement and construction management budget allocated,” explains Firestone CEO, Stuart Brown.

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