Canada's Stornoway Diamond Corp.'s third quarter results show the company in the midst of shifting from completing construction of their Renard Mine to ramping up production as their maiden rough diamond sale begins in Antwerp, two months earlier than previously anticipated. The quarter saw the official opening of Renard on October 19, 2016 after ore processing commenced on July 15, 2016. Construction progress, at 99%, was essentially complete at the end of the quarter. During Q3, 91,010 tons were processed with attributable production of 111,556 carats, representing an average grade of 123 carats per hundred tons. Stornoway recovered 21 stones larger than 10.8 carats in size (`specials`) during the quarter. Mining in the Renard 2-3 and Renard 65 open pits stood at 11,570,023 tons, or 104% of plan, with 1,295,194 tons of ore stockpiled. Underground mine development stood at 2,630 meters, or 97% of plan.
Stornoway ended the quarter with cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $150.9 million, compared with $137.4 million at the end of the previous quarter. Matt Manson, President and CEO, commented: “The current quarter reflects the wind-down of mine construction activities at Renard and the commencement of our production ramp-up. Our final forecast for mine capital cost continues in line with our previously reduced estimate of $775 million, and we remain on track for commercial production by year end. Open pit mining and ore stockpiling continues comfortably ahead of plan, and the development of our underground mine ramp has largely caught-up the delays caused by water infiltration earlier in the year. As reported on October 6, our first diamond sale will commence today, November 14, in Antwerp, Belgium, which is earlier than previously planned.
"Based on the characteristics of our early diamond production and the rate of our ramp-up, we are on track to exceed our guidance for FY2016 carat production, albeit at a lower than expected initial diamond price owing to a higher than expected proportion of small diamonds in the early product mix. Proceeds from this diamond sale will represent un-budgeted pre-production revenue, and will supplement further our already strong balance sheet position.”