The mining permit application will now be processed by the National Minerals Agency and then forwarded to the Minerals Advisory Board, which will make a recommendation to the Minister of Mines.
Stellar has also submitted its final Environmental, Social and Health Impact Assessment (ESHIA) report. Public meetings will be held in the New Year both at Tongo and in the capital Freetown, after which the Environmental Agency can issue a licence.
Karl Smithson, Stellar’s chief executive, said the two applications marked key milestones as it moves from explorer to miner.
“Notably, as far as I am aware, this is the first large scale mining licence of any kind to be applied for since the onset of the Ebola crisis,” he added.
“As such this therefore also marks an important milestone for the country of Sierra Leone which needs to attract new private sector investment.”
A preliminary economic assessment in August indicated Tongo may produce almost one million carats of diamonds over 18 years, generating US$387mln in revenues.
The plan is work on surface for year in the first four years to bring in early cash flow.