Stornoway Diamond Corporation today announced a momentous occasion for the Canadian miner: processing of ore has commenced at the Renard Diamond Project in north-central Québec. This marks the beginning of a processing ramp-up designed to achieve 100% of plant nameplate capacity (2.16Mtons/yr at 78% plant utilization) within 9 months, according to their press release. As of July 13, 2016, 1,002,888 tons of ore had been stockpiled, sufficient to commence and maintain the planned ramp-up. Initial production is based on ore sourced directly from the Renard 2-Renard 3 open pit and supplemented from the stockpile as required. Construction of the Renard mine began on July 10, 2014, following the completion of a $735 million (C$946 million) project financing transaction, the largest ever for a publicly listed diamond company. Once complete, the project will be the first diamond mine in Québec, and one of only six in Canada, and will employ approximately 500 people.
Matt Manson, President and CEO, commented: “The commencement of diamond production at Renard comes exactly 2 years and 5 days since we broke ground for mine construction. Our project execution continues to track several weeks ahead of our (already) re-baselined schedule and well within our capital budget. Our focus now turns to the efficient ramping-up of the process plant and the reconciliation of our principal Mineral Resource and mine operating parameters.” Mr. Manson continued: “The kimberlites that form what is now Quebec’s first operating diamond mine were discovered 15 years ago this September by Ashton Mining of Canada and SOQUEM Inc.