North Australian Diamonds Limited has selected Consulmet Pty Ltd. to undertake a definitive feasibility study at its Merlin diamond operation in the Northern Territory. The mine is forecast to deliver around 300,000 carats annually.
The definitive feasibility study will also look at the possibility of a bigger operation.
Consulmet has already completed a stage 1 study at a pre-feasibility level for the Merlin project assessing previous testwork and the likely design of a diamond treatment and recovery plant including all associated infrastructure.
The pre-feasibility production trials, completed late last year, resulted in the recovery of 10,600 carats of diamonds, of which 2,590 carats were greater than 1 carat, representing 24.4 percent of production.
Of the 1+ carat diamonds, more than 75 percent were assessed as ‘gem’ or ‘near gem’ quality. The diamond parcel is being used to test current market diamond pricing and value adding strategies.
North Australian Diamonds said that a recent evaluation put a $330 per carat value on run of mine (ROM) production compared with a previous assessment last October of $180-$200 per carat.
Consulmet will deliver an interim feasibility study report in the fourth quarter this year and the final full definitive feasibility study report is due for completion in the first quarter 2012.