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Stellar Diamonds completes Baoulé sampling early

The company revealed that the quality of diamonds in the larger eastern lobe is higher than those from the western lobe
Large diamond
The company’s resource target is, as previously indicated, some 3mln carats contained within the Baoulé pipe.

Stellar Diamonds PLC (LON:STEL) has completed the 100,000 tonne bulk sample at its Baoulé kimberlite project in Guinea.

The company revealed 11,808 carats were recovered at an average grade of 11.4 carats per hundred tonnes (cpht), using a +1.25mm cut-off.

Stellar added that to date, more than 8,400 carats have been sold in three diamond sales, bringing in more than US$1mln in revenues. The higher quality gems have been achieving prices of up to US$6,800 per carat, it added.

The sale of a further 3,100 carats are planned later this month, with all of the diamonds extracted from the western lobe, which is generally yielding lower quality gems than the larger eastern lobe. The grade of the eastern lobe is clocking in at 13.3 cpht, compared to 9.8 cpht at the eastern lobe.

“This planned sale will add to US$1 million generated to-date from diamonds sold, which has contributed significantly to the costs of the exercise,” said Karl Smithson, chief executive officer (CEO) of Stellar Diamonds.

Meanwhile, the company is set to receive a further influx of funds via a shareholder loan. Shareholders Altus Strategies and Deutsche Balaton are to provide funding to the company of £465,000 in aggregate.

The proceeds of the loan will be used for working capital purposes as the company advances its mining licence application for its Tongo kimberlite project in Sierra Leone and establishes a maiden resource at its Baoulé.

The loan short-term loan bears an interest rate of 20% a year.

"The trial mining exercise at Baoulé has been successfully completed, ahead of schedule, through the processing of over 100,000 tonnes of kimberlite from the eastern and western lobes of the five hectare pipe,” noted CEO Karl Smithson. 

“A total of 929 stones greater than one carat have been yielded, including numerous high value gem and fancy coloured (yellow) diamonds. Additionally as announced on 15 March 2016, one 55 carat stone has been recovered, which confirms the company's belief that the Baoulé pipe is a source of large diamonds that are renowned in the Aredor area of Guinea,” Smithson added. 

Once this month’s diamonds sale is out of the way, Stellar will then complete the necessary diamond grade and value modelling as part of the resource estimation exercise. The company’s resource target is, as previously indicated, some 3mln carats contained within the Baoulé pipe. 

When the grading and modelling has been completed it will allow the company to formulate the next development steps for the project.

“The company was able to confirm a difference in grade between the (volumetrically) larger eastern lobe (averaging 13.3cpht) and smaller western lobe (9.8cpht) lobes. Having said that, Stellar also noted that the difference could be due to differing processing efficiencies of the different kimberlite types,” noted broker Shore Capital.

Shares in Stellar were up 4.6% at 6.8p in a falling market in the first hour of trading.

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