Shear Diamonds Ltd., owner of the Jericho diamond mine in Nunavut, Canada, began processing its high-grade concentrate stockpiles. A total of approximately 3,500 carats have been recovered from 358 tonnes after the first 10 days of processing. Shear Diamonds will now continue to focus on processing these stockpiles this year. Following their valuation in late May, the diamonds and all future recoveries from Jericho, other than diamonds subject to a first option by the holder, will be delivered to Tache Company for sale on the market.
"It is incredibly gratifying for the entire Shear team to see the first recovered diamonds from Jericho since its shutdown in early 2008," said Shear Diamonds' chief executive, Julie Lassonde. "We are seeing daily improvements in tonnage processed as well as recoveries as we continue to ramp up during the re-commissioning of the recovery portion of the diamond recovery plant."
Shear's immediate goals for the recovery project include generating cash flow in support of operations while the junior miner acquires key processing knowledge that can be applied to future production, unlike during Jericho's previous operation, when maximum recovery was not achieved, according to Lassonde.
There have been significant operational challenges in restarting Jericho, according to Shear Diamonds, such as balancing processes and fine-tuning the general flowsheet, basic maintenance and legacy repair issues from being closed three years, personnel recruitment and training and significant electrical and software malfunctions.
Shear also had to arrange for fuel delivery earlier than expected. Live commissioning of the recently modified Jericho diamond recovery plant is underway on a day-shift basis only while Shear ramps up production. Shear has achieved a maximum processing rate of 50 tonnes over a 12-hour shift and hopes to hit approximately 80 tonnes per day with an average recovery rate of approximately 10 carats per hundred tonnes as it moves to 24-hour operations in the coming weeks.