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MEI Online: Plant Operation News: Africa: October 13th 2003


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:: Commissioning Phase Begins at Expanded Gem Mine

Canadian diamond miners Etruscan Resources and Mountain Lake Resources jointly announced yesterday the completion of construction of the expanded plant at the Tirisano Diamond mine, near Ventersdorp, in South Africa. The two miners also announced that the commissioning phase would now get under way.

Tirisano is the first commercial-scale alluvial diamond mining operation in the Ventersdorp district, where commercial production started in January this year.

Engineering design, mechanical equipment supply and as well as plant commissioning of the expansion project have been contracted to Bateman Minerals, a leading South African engineering and construction firm.

In November 2002 the Tirisano diamond-mine was officially opened, with a capacity to process 665 000 m3/y, with scheduled production of 19 200 carats a year. Etruscan controls 51% of the mine, and Mountain Lake Resources owns 25%, while 24% is held by other mining companies.

The mine is being developed in phases, with an emphasis on increasing the throughput and annual production. The expansion will increase the production of the plant from the present 35 000 m3 of gravel a month to around 80 000 m3 a month. Diamond production will increase to 2 300 carats a month.

The main components of the expansion include a rotary scrubber, a double deck sizing screen and a dewatering circuit. A second dense medium separation (DMS) circuit was also recently purchased for the Tirisano Diamond mine and this is presently being installed on site. The circuit will be fully installed and operational by the end of October 2003.

This 'twinning' of the DMS section of the plant will provide operational flexibility, ensure high plant availability and will double the total DMS capacity to 100 t/h.




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