The 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, Stornoway’s flagship asset, is located near the Otish Mountains in north-central Quebec and is well on track to becoming Quebec’s first diamond mine. The project benefits from a large and growing resource, good mining conditions, strong social acceptance, a modest environmental footprint, and the development of direct-to-mine infrastructure under the auspices of Quebec’s “Plan Nord”.
The Renard kimberlite pipes, and the nearby “Lynx Hibou” system of kimberlite dykes, were discovered starting in 2001 following five years of grass roots exploration over an area of more than 400,000 square kilometres of the eastern Archean Superior craton in northern Quebec. Initial exploration was conducted under a joint venture between Ashton Mining of Canada Inc. and SOQUEM inc. Stornoway acquired Ashton in January 2007 and in April 2011 acquired the remaining 50% in the project held by DIAQUEM Inc. a subsidiary of SOQUEM.
The current project development schedule (as of the January 28, 2013 Optimization Study) assumes first road access to the project site by the fourth quarter of 2013 followed by a 24 month construction period. Plant commissioning is scheduled to begin in December 2015 with commercial production achieved by June 2016.
The January 28, 2012 press release that announced the Optimization Study incorporated certain design refinements undertaken since the release of the project’s Feasibility Study in November 2011, including the deferral of shaft access for the underground mine and a modified underground mining sequence and draw point design. The Optimization Study also contains an updated financial model incorporating, amongst other things, the terms of the March 2012 Mecheshoo Agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini, the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), and the Cree Regional Authority, and the November 2012 Renard Mine Road financing agreement with the Government of Québec.
The study outlines a (base case) Net Present Value (“NPV”) of C$683 million at a 7% discount rate and Internal Rate of Return (“IRR”) of 20.3% before taxes and mining duties, and C$391 million and 16.3% after taxes and mining duties. It calculates a revised initial capital cost of C$752 million and a revised operating cost averaging C$57.63/tonne (C$76.63/carat), and an 11 years reserve-based mine life with diamond production averaging 1.6 million carats/annum life of mine, real terms net revenue of C$4,046 million, and a cash operating margin of C$2,693 million (67% compared to 68% in the previous estimate).
The global Certificate of Authorization for the Renard Diamond Project was received on December 6, 2012 from the Québec Ministère du Développement Durable, de l’Environnement,de la Faune et des Parcs (“MDDEFP”). The Certificate of Authorization represents the principal regulatory approval required to commence mine construction, and was issued by the Québec regulators following more than 2 years of formal environmental study, community engagement and public consultation under the terms of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (the “JBNQA”).
Québec's Ministère des Ressources naturelles issued the Mining Lease for Renard on September 17, 2012. The Mining Lease represents the formal transference of mineral title from Québec to Stornoway, and is valid for a period of 20 years.
Separate from the Renard Optimization Study, Stornoway is developing a Long Term Business Plan (“LTBP”) based on the addition of 31 mtonnes (17 mcarats) of NI 43-101 compliant Inferred Mineral Resources within the scope of the mine infrastructure contained within the Feasibility Study. The LTBP is expected to outline an increased production rate and extended mine life, with underground mine development at Renard 2, 3, 4 and 9 to a maximum 700 meters depth, and an open pit at Renard 65. A significant quantity of non-resource, potential mineral deposit has been identified in addition to the NI 43-101 compliant resources, and all pipes remain open at depth.
The reader is cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. Readers are referred to the NI 43-101 compliant technical report dated February 3rd, 2011 with respect to the disclosure of Mineral Resources for the Renard Diamond Project.
Analysis of the Renard diamond population has shown a coarse size distribution and a high proportion of large white gems. Based on percentage by weight, 99% of the stones are gem/near-gem quality with just 1% industrial quality boart. This combination of attributes gives a high potential for significant “Specials” to be recovered once the mine is fully operational. This is not accounted for in the current resource work or valuation estimates (picture of diamonds recovered from bulk sampling five carats or larger).
An important aspect of the project's advancement is the "Route 167 Extension" which will allow all-season access to Renard by way of the communities of Chibougamau and Mistissini. Construction began in February of 2012, and is being undertaken in four segments, “A” to “D”. The Ministry of Transport Quebec has completed the first 143 km of the road over segments A and B as a 70km/hr two-lane gravel highway (see press release of Feb. 14, 2013). The MTQ also completed the initial winter road access to the project site along sections C and D in March of 2013. Stornoway has now commenced construction of a 50km/hr single lane mining road over this remaining 97km section (see slideshow) and should have all-season access to the site by the last quarter of 2013 (see press release dated March 27, 2013).
A first for diamond mining in Canada, year round road access will allow Renard to be developed and operated with significantly reduced costs and operating risk.
In an era of steadily growing diamond demand and decreasing supply, Renard is one of the best undeveloped diamond deposits in the world today.
|Apr 11, 2013|
Stornoway Reports Positive Renard 65 Diamond Valuation Result
Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX-SWY) is pleased to provide the results of an independent valuation on the Renard 65 bulk sample diamonds recently recovered at the Renard Diamond Project in north...
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|Mar 27, 2013|
Stornoway Provides Construction Update On The Renard Mine Road
All-Season Road Construction Initiated Ahead of Schedule
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|Jan 28, 2013|
Stornoway Reports Optimized Renard Mine Design And Cost Estimates
Initial Capital Cost Reduced; High Operating Margin Maintained
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This video reflects the mine plan that applied to the December 28, 2012 Feasibility Study and does not include the changes made in the Optimization Study of January 28, 2013.