Mining company Octéa Diamond Group, a private company owned by
Beny Steinmetz Group (BSGR), was officially launched at a gala
event at the group’s flagship Koidu diamond mine, in Sierra
Leone’s Kono district, last month.
The event also marked the official opening of the Koidu mine’s
new 180 t/h processing plant, which will boost diamond output
from 10 000 ct/m to 45 000 ct/m during the third quarter of this
Towards the end of 2011, Koidu Holdings underwent major
restructuring to enable the group to invest in other exploration
and development opportunities in Sierra Leone, and Octéa Diamond
Group was formed.
“We chose the name Octéa to reflect the quality of the
octahedral diamonds characteristic of our diamond deposits in
Sierra Leone,” said CEO Jan Joubert.
Four wholly owned subsidiaries of Octéa Diamond Group have been
established: Octéa Mining, Octéa Diamonds, Octéa Services and
the Octéa Foundation.
“Octéa Mining now owns the mining assets of the group, including
the Koidu diamond mine and the Tonguma project,” said Joubert.
“An application for an exploration licence to the east of Koidu,
which contains the third of the kimberlite pipes in the region,
was awarded to newly formed Octéa subsidary Boroma on July 23.
Core drilling to delineate the pipe and associated dyke zones
will start within the next month.”
Speaking at the launch, Joubert stated the successful
implementation of the Koidu expansion project would enable the
company to generate a healthy return on capital.
“Even during economic downturns the 180 t/h mine configuration
should generate a return and while the current life-of-mine plan
is for 15 years, we believe it could be extended by at least
another 10 to 15 years,” he said.
Meanwhile, a few days before the launch, the company signed a
25-year mining lease agreement on the Tonguma property in Tongo.
The first phase of economic evaluation at Tonguma is taking
place and a feasibility study should be concluded in the first
quarter of next year, Joubert said.
“We aim to start developing our next mine there, and believe
Tonguma’s potential, in the size of the resource and
life-of-mine, might even overshadow that of Koidu,” he said.
“Apart from Koidu and Tonguma, Octéa is actively pursuing
further opportunities. “We want to be producing at least
two-million carats by 2018,” he added.
More than $300-million has been invested by BSGR in Octéa and
its surrounding communities in Sierra Leone to date. A
long-term, off-take agreement is also in place with renowned
diamond brand retailer Tiffany & Co.
The Koidu expansion project incorporates all the currently
evaluated kimberlite resources on the mining lease property,
The richer K1 kimberlite pipe, which was mined by vertical pit
methods from 2005 to 2007, has been redeveloped and brought back
into production this year, while the new 180 t/h processing
plant will ramp up production from the K1 and K2 openpits.
Optimisation studies indicated that the two openpits would be
economic to depths of 310 m for K1 and 240 m for K2. At average
mining rates of 100 000 t/m of ore and 1.4-million tons a month
of waste, the openpit phase of the expansion project will
continue until the end of 2015, he said.
“In 2015, the underground operation will start drawing ore from
the two kimberlite pipes and from the four small blows developed
along two of the four kimberlite dyke zones currently included
in the mine plan.”
Development of the portal will start towards the end of 2012 to
have the underground infrastructure in place by 2014. Longhole
open stoping is the mining method selected for the K1 and K2
orebodies, with no crown pillar left between the openpit and
underground operations. Mechanised longhole stoping will be used
for mining the kimberlite dyke zones, said Joubert.
The mine’s current defined indicated and inferred resource
amounts to more than 14-million tons at grades ranging from 0.32
to 0.76 carats a ton. An additional 3.7-million tons of
kimberlite was drilled and classified as geological potential,
which will be upgraded into the resource statement in the next
phase of resource extension and evaluation.
The main challenge Octéa had to overcome involved the supply
chain and logistics, owing to the remoteness of the project.
“As shipping takes between 9 to 16 weeks, if a component was
incorrectly engineered, it would not have been possible to
rectify it quickly. Therefore, the entire plant was manu-
factured, trial-erected and water-tested in South Africa to
identify any potential problem areas prior to being dismantled
and packed in containers for shipping to Sierra Leone,” Joubert
Running in parallel at Koidu were the site establishment,
earthworks, civil engineering and the laying of foundations,
which enabled the erection of the plant to start immediately
after the 216 shipped containers had arrived on site.
Despite the metal workers strike in South Africa during the
critical manufacturing stages and the coup in Côte d’Ivoire,
which disrupted shipping routes, the plant was still
commissioned within the planned timeframes.
The diamonds mined at Koidu enable the company to finance
numerous development initiatives, said Joubert.
“Country and community initiatives undertaken by the company, to
date, include clean water supply to the Kimbadu resettlement
village, education facilities and programmes, a road
refurbishment programme, infrastructure development, healthcare
programmes, agriculture projects, feeding schemes, local
business development programmes, a sports development programme,
an employee development programme and employee welfare. Most of
these initiatives are ongoing,” he said.
The Octéa Foundation, which focuses on community development,
wants to further enhance these initiatives through the provision
of clean water for the town of Koidu and the establishment of a
malaria prevention programme, as well as national education
subheadline of the story on
the launch of Octéa Diamond
Group, on page 21 in Mining
Weekly’s August 3, 2012,
edition, stated that Koidu
Holdings is now called Octéa
Diamond. Actually, Koidu
Holdings is now called Koidu
Limited, a subsidiary of
Octéa Mining, which now owns
the mining assets of the
group, including the Koidu
diamond mine, in Sierra
Beny Steinmetz Group Resources Ltd (BSGR),
the shareholder of Koidu Holdings S.A. (Societe
Anonyme), through BSG Diamonds Ltd, has
invested over $300 million into the
development of the Company and the
upliftment of our communities.
the success of the Koidu and Tonguma
operations, a major restructuring exercise
was initiated towards the end of 2011 to
enable the group to invest in other
exploration and development opportunities in
Sierra Leone and to attract financing
partners for the injection of a further
anticipated $600 million to $1 billion into
the country’s mining sector.
BSG Diamonds was renamed OCTÉA Ltd to
reflect and honour the spectacular quality
of the abundant octahedral diamonds
characteristic of the diamond deposits in
Sierra Leone. Four wholly owned subsidiaries
of OCTÉA Ltd were established namely: OCTÉA
Mining Ltd, OCTÉA Diamonds Ltd, OCTÉA
Services Ltd and the OCTÉA Foundation.
OCTÉA Mining Ltd now owns the mining
assets of the group, including the Koidu
Kimberlite Project held by Koidu Ltd
(previously named Koidu Holdings S.A.) and
the Tonguma Project held by Tonguma Ltd.