The Sierra Leone Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the environmental, social and health-impact assessment (ESHIA) for Stellar Diamonds' Tongo Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone, writes Engineering News. “The approval of our ESHIA marks another key step in the process of obtaining the mining and environmental licences that will allow for the development of the 1.45-million-carat diamond resource at Tongo Dyke-1, one of four kimberlite dykes at our Tongo project. “We will now schedule a meeting with the EPA to discuss and agree on the fee relating to the issuing of the environmental licence,” CEO Karl Smithson said in a statement on Feb. 17.
Stellar further noted that it had concluded a surface rental agreement with landowners and other key stakeholders. “I look forward to updating shareholders in due course on progress relating to the mining licence application, which awaits consideration by the Minerals Advisory Board as we continue to progress the development of this high-grade, high-value diamond resource,” said Smithson. A preliminary economic assessment estimated an 18-year mine life for the Dyke-1 kimberlite, which was expected to deliver 995,930 ct from surface and underground mining.