Resource development efforts are continuing at Stornoway Diamond’s Québec-based Renard Mine, focused primarily on the Renard 3 and 4 ore bodies. The drilling and sampling underway at these sites is intended to accelerate the mining of both kimberlites and convert their mineral resources to mineral reserves.
Renard 3, which is planned to be mined underground between 2026 and 2027, has been successfully delineated to a 315-m (1033-ft) depth. As a result, Stornoway is now aiming to incorporate the body into its 2019 production schedule, earlier than anticipated.
“The Renard 3 work is about accelerating the mining of high-grade ore in our production schedule and maintaining over the long term a blend of ore from two sources in the underground mine as we go deeper,” said Matt Manson, the company’s CEO.
Results have also been favourable at Renard 4, after 11,646 tonnes of sample were processed through Stornoway’s main plant in September. Approximately 3000 carats have been recovered from the kimberlite, including three ‘special’ diamonds exceeding 10.8 carats: two white octahedral gems weighing 14.89 carats and 12.42 carats, respectively, and an 11.12-carat brown clivage.
The company is exploring the option of open-pit mining at this ore body and the nearby Renard 9, which would allow extraction of some to all of the estimated 2 million carats of diamonds in Renard 4’s top 140 m (459 ft). Manson says this would necessitate creation of a water-retention structure in neighbouring Lagopède Lake, “but would allow [Stornoway] to take advantage of the expanded plant processing capacity offered by our new ore-sorting circuit.”
“The results of both of these resource development programs have been encouraging,” he added. “We expect to see the benefits of the Renard 3 work already in the 2019 production schedule, and we anticipate proceeding to the next stages of economic study, community consultation, and permitting following the completion of the Renard 4 work, which remains ongoing at this time.”