Ellendale E4 site

Australia-based Kimberley Diamonds is planning to restart mining at Ellendale’s E4 mine and anticipates production of 200,000ct in 2015.

Ellendale’s E4 operation was placed on care and maintenance in February 2009 by Gem Diamonds, which operated the mine until Kimberley Diamonds acquired the property.

The E4 mine has indicated resources of 6.1Mt at 6.66ct per hundred tonnes (cpht), and inferred resources of 50Mt at 3.92cpht for a total of 2.367 million carats.

"The re-opening of E4 further advances our strategy of becoming a diversified diamond producer."

Refurbishment of the plant will start immediately and following receipt of regulatory approvals, work to lift the tailings dam walls and other pre-mining activities can begin.

Treatment of the high-grade stockpiles is anticipated to start in September of this year, subject to the timing of the regulatory approvals.

The company said that after a three month ramp-up period, the plant will produce at an annualised rate of 2.8Mt a year.

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By GlobalData

Kimberley Diamonds executive chairman Alex Alexander said Ellendale currently produces 120,000ct of diamonds a year from the E9 operations.

"When we bring E4 back into production, we will expect to produce approximately twice that amount. Having the two mines in operation at Ellendale creates synergies and reduces operating costs, resulting in higher operating margins," Alexander said.

"The re-opening of E4 further advances our strategy of becoming a diversified diamond producer."

The E4 mine is located 14km south-east of the E9 operation within the Ellendale mining lease, in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.

Image: The existing plant at the Ellendale E4 site. Photo: courtesy of Kimberley Diamonds.