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MEI Online: Commodities: Non-Metallic Ores: Diamond: Latest News: July 24th 2007


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:: Diamond-treatment Plant for Letseng in Lesotho

Bateman Engineering N.V. is engaged on a R235 million (US$32 million) project for Letseng Diamonds Pty Ltd to provide a second diamond-treatment plant for the Letsíeng-la-Terae mine in the Leribe District of northern Lesotho, about 120 km from the town of Botha Bothe.

With a planned production of about 50,000 carats per year during a 20-year life, it is anticipated that the mine will have a significant impact upon the economy of Lesotho, where diamond production in recent years has been low.

The contract, which is scheduled for completion at the end of 2007, covers a facility to process the run-of-mine ore and to produce concentrate, using a dense-media separation (DMS) plant, which will be fed to the existing diamond-recovery plant at the mine. Provision will also be made for a tailings disposal system.

The plant will process a nominal 350 t/h of kimberlite ore received from open-pit operations at the main and satellite diamond pipes, as well as stockpiled ore produced by mining operations at Letseng during the 1980s. Diamond production at Letseng recommenced in November 2004 after a 20-year break, and with encouraging early results the mine is maintaining its reputation as a large-stone producer.

The Letseng operation is the highest diamond mine in the world, located at an altitude of approximately 3,200 m in the Maluti Mountains. As snow is a frequent occurrence, the plant is to be built into a single building with extensive use being made of vertical conveyors to minimise the plantís footprint.

Bateman Engineering conducted the original feasibility study and value engineering on the project and tendered before being awarded the contract. Most of the equipment for the plant is being sourced from neighbouring South Africa and the logistic challenges are typical of projects on such remote sites.

Details on the project may be obtained from James Nieuwenhuys, Managing Director, Diamonds or Liam Cafferty, Business Development Manager, Diamonds on +27-11-899-9111 or email Diamonds@BatemanEngineering.com.




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