Lucara Diamond Corp. approved a US$14.8 million budget to complete a feasibility study for an underground mining operation at its flagship Karowe diamond mine in Botswana.
The amount will allow the completion of geotechnical and hydrogeological drilling programs, as well as economic and other related studies. The company said Jan. 8 that an update on the project will be provided by the first quarter.
Lucara said it spent almost US$29 million in 2018 for works that significantly de-risked the project.
For 2019, Lucara expects to fetch between US$170 million and US$200 million from the sale of 300,000 carats to 320,000 carats of diamond from Karowe.
A November 2017 preliminary economic assessment on Karowe defined an after-tax net present value, discounted at 5%, of US$451 million, with a 38.9% internal rate of return and a 2.5-year payback period.
Based on a June 2018 estimate, Karowe hosts indicated resources containing 7.9 million carats within 57.9 million tonnes of in situ and stockpile ore grading an average 13.7 carats per hundred tonnes.