Diamond exploration company Stornoway has cut its estimated construction costs at the Renard diamond project in Québec by 6%, after completing an optimisation study.
The study incorporates design changes undertaken since the release of the project's feasibility study in November 2011, including the deferral of shaft access for the underground mine and a modified underground mining sequence and draw point design.
These changes have resulted in the reduction of operating and capital cost estimates for the project, Stornoway said.
Revised capital costs are now pegged at CAD$752m ($742.95m), a reduction of CAD$50m from the previous estimate released in June 2011.
But operating costs of the project have increased by CAD$2.92 per tonne, adding to the previous estimate of CAD$57.63 per tonne or CAD$76.63 per carat.
Stornoway president and CEO Matt Manson commented on the study, "The deferral of the shaft has been achieved without compromising the future development of the project's substantial resource upside, and the refinements made to the underground mining sequence provide greater confidence in the operating parameters for this critical part of the overall mine plan," said Manson.
The optimisation study also outlines an updated project development schedule and financial model, wherein the mine is expected to generate 1.6 million carats a year on average for 11 years of mine life, contributing to revenue of CAD$4m.
Image: Stornoway's flagship Renard mine, located near the Otish Mountains, will be Quebec's first diamond mine. Photo: Stornoway Diamonds Corporation.