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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: September 8th 2011


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:: Rockwell to Implement Highly Effective Bulk X-Ray Technology Diamond Recovery at Saxendrift

Rockwell Diamonds Inc. announces that its board of directors has approved the capital investment to install high throughput (or bulk) x-ray technology at Saxendrift. This represents another positive step in implementing and entrenching its diamond value management programmes which are focused on sustainably enhancing diamond recoveries.

High throughput x-ray plants are the next significant advancement in diamond processing technology. These plants effectively concentrate and recover diamonds in one single, efficient, cost effective and secure step. This technology can also identify rare Type II diamonds, which are known to be present in Rockwell's Middle Orange River properties. Diamonds of this type are, generally, not recognized by the standard x-ray technology currently used at Saxendrift.

"The existing plant at Saxendrift is currently based on traditional pan plant technology that is known to be less efficient in the recovery of diamonds than the bulk x-ray technology which we are seeking to implement,” explains James Campbell, CEO, Rockwell. "We will pilot this technology at Saxendrift to fine tune it to our specific requirements. Our objective is to deploy the same technology over the next few years in the new processing plants that are planned to be built at Wouterspan and Niewejaarskraal with significant efficiency improvements over standard flow sheets."

The project will include the procurement and installation of one high throughput Bourevestnik (BV) sorter and one BV single particle sorter for the concentration and final sorting of diamond bearing ore at Saxendrift. The capital cost of some $1.5 million will be funded from the proceeds of the recent asset sales. This cost includes the installation of these units into an additional 400tph plant at Saxendrift. The order has been placed for the equipment however the order backlog is currently at about six months as a result of many other diamond mining companies seeing the same benefits as Rockwell. Commissioning is expected to be completed within three weeks of delivery.

Evaluation of the new technology for Saxendrift suggests that the new installation is likely to achieve a positive payback after the retreatment of old recovery plant tailings. Subsequently, the new plant will be used to process the run of mine ore and is expected to result in a significant improvement in diamond recoveries.

Campbell also stated "together with the other improvements currently in progress at Saxendrift and the recovery of high quality gem stones, we are confident that production at this mine will improve significantly to enable it to produce more of the large, high value diamonds for which it is known."




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