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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: December 12th 2012


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:: Results of Pilot Bulk X-Ray Technology Demonstrate Rockwell’s Delivery on Total Diamond Value Management


Rockwell Diamonds Inc. has updated the market on its pilot Bulk X-Ray project at the Saxendrift Mine, South Africa. Despite this project being a pilot study it has already repaid the cost of setting it up from processing the old recovery tailings

The Bulk X-Ray project was initiated in November 2011 and commissioned ahead of schedule, five months later with a capital outlay some 7% lower than the initial budget of $1.5 million. During the six month period to date, a total of 1,596 carats have been recovered from reprocessing 27,609 m3 of old recovery tailings that had previously been processed by another operator using older technologies. These included three particularly large stones weighing 52, 72 and 145 carats respectively. In addition to a capital investment of $1.4 million, operating costs of $0.39 million were incurred, with revenue from sales of the diamonds recovered totalling US$4.2 million over the period to October 31, 2012.

The recovery tailings achieved a grade of 2.97 carats/100 m3. The recovery of diamonds from these tailings suggests that the deployment of this technology in run-of-mine applications across Rockwell’s Middle Orange River projects should yield additional recoveries beyond the stated grades and diamond values which have been identified using historical technology. There is the added benefit that the new high throughput technology can also lead to a meaningful reduction in operating costs.

“We are delighted that our initial capital outlay was paid back and believe this technology will become an integral component in our total diamond value management strategy," explains James Campbell, CEO, Rockwell Diamonds. “The work represents the opportunity for a step change in Rockwell’s approach to diamond recovery, enabling a quicker payback than any other type of recovery plant. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that we achieved this only from material that had been processed previously. We have yet to deploy the technology in a run of mine application."

“Having completed the six-month pilot study, we have satisfactorily completed our proof of concept for the Bulk X-Ray technology, with its dual benefits of more efficient recovery of diamonds and lower operating costs," added Campbell. “Our projects team has also demonstrated its capability to replicate the system on other operations. The next phase is to roll out the technology at the new Saxendrift Hill Complex mine where the processing plant will be based on two Bulk X-Ray systems at a monthly processing rate of 100,000 m3. Production is on track to commence early in the next fiscal year with an expected total capital outlay of about $2 million to be funded from working capital."




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