DiamondCorp has installed and commissioned an underground conveyor belt system at the Lace mine located 200km south-west of Johannesburg, South Africa.
The capacity of the 400t/h conveyor belt has been sized at double the existing front-end capacity of the processing plant, in order to increase underground mining in the future.
DiamondCorp CEO Paul Loudon said: "Today marks a game changer with respect to the development of the Lace mine as commissioning of the conveyor belts results in an effective ten-fold increase in our capacity to haul ore out from the mine.
"Not only does the conveyor belt provide Lace with the ability to increase development rates, the cost of future development will decrease in the absence of the need for trucks for waste hauling as the underground loaders will now empty their buckets directly onto the end of the conveyor belt which keeps getting extended as the development goes deeper."
The company plans to only use trucks for hauling kimberlite from the upper K4 block production level to the tipping point on the conveyor belt until block cave production begins.
The company also said that the additional storage dam capacity constructed last year is full, and has the capacity to hold enough water to process all kimberlite mining planned for the next year.
Due to this, the existing drought conditions in South Africa will not impact kimberlite mining ramp.
The Lace diamond mine was first mined between 1901 and 1931. Approximately 750,000 carats of diamonds were recovered from Lace during this period.
Image: First development kimberlite from UK4 Block to stockpile by conveyor belt in November 2015. Photo: courtesy of DiamondCorp.