Stellar Diamonds plc, the London quoted diamond exploration and development company focused on West Africa, has announced that the FEED study for the underground mine development of the Tongo-Tonguma project in Sierra Leone has commenced.
A team of five consultants from contractors Paradigm Project Management Pty Ltd (PPM) and SRK Consulting (SRK) have arrived on site to begin the various work streams associated with the FEED programme.
Karl Smithson, Chief Executive, commented: “We are pleased that the first key milestone in the mine development at Tongo-Tonguma has commenced. PPM are highly experienced in the delivery of diamond mine projects and together with SRK they will refine all elements of the mine plan as determined in the published PEA to higher levels of confidence in order to reduce the project delivery risk. With over 66 000 metres of drilling completed at the project to date, we will drill of a further 9000 metres of mine plan related drilling to a depth of 75 metres concurrent with the FEED study.”
The main objectives of the FEED study are to better define the technical requirements of the project, in order to ensure that the correct underground mine design is implemented, and that the treatment plant design and layout is properly designed and the unit processes are clearly identified.
Although the combined Tongo-Tonguma projects have seen some 66 000 metres of drilling, approximately 9000 metres of additional core drilling is intended to be undertaken at 50 metre intervals. The aim of this is to better define the near-surface geology of the kimberlites in resource with particular reference to siting of the decline portals, the declines and the development drives for the first two levels of mining to a depth of 75 metres below surface. Furthermore, the drilling will provide the necessary geotechnical and hydrogeological information for the initial years of mining.
The FEED programme will also define the final capital expenditure estimate and the operating cost budgets. In addition, the Project execution plan will also be developed. A refined financial model will also be developed for the mine.
Key FEED elements and deliverables
The following list highlights the key FEED work streams and deliverables by PPM/SRK and Stellar:
- Mining and design.
- Underground geotechnical.
- Underground infrastructure.
- Surface geotechnical.
- Surface infrastructure.
- Bulk services (power and water supply).
- Treatment plant.
- Security and product protection.
- Operational readiness (including manpower plan, preliminary project procurement).
- Procurement and logistics.
- Project execution plan.
- Risk and opportunity management.
- Project Management and services.
- Infill mine plan drilling.
- Environmental management in line with approved EIAs
- Social and community liaison.
- Legal and permitting.