Renard came in ahead of schedule for construction, processing and sales.
Diamantaires in Antwerp got their first look at Quebecois gems over the last nine days, spending $10.2 million on 38,913 carats from Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) Renard mine. The average price came to US$195 per carat.
“Pricing met or was close to our expectations on most items,” president/CEO Matt Manson said. “Recent events in India surrounding demonetization have impacted pricing and demand for certain smaller and lower-quality items and, as a result, a quantity of these were withdrawn from the sale. These will be sold at a later date. Because of this, and because of a higher than expected proportion of small diamonds recovered during the ramp-up period, the result of this first sale cannot be taken as representative of the longer-term pricing profile of the project.”
The sale took place two months earlier than anticipated. Three more sales have been scheduled for Q1 2017.
Having begun ore processing in July, Renard has already surpassed the fiscal year’s guidance of 220,000 carats at an average grade of 97 carats per hundred tonnes. As of November 15 the mine gave up 261,353 carats, averaging 107 cpht. Stornoway credited “a better than expected mix of ore available within the open pit for processing.”
The company expects to reach commercial production, 60% of capacity, by year-end. Stornowayestimates average production will reach 1.8 million carats annually for the mine’s first 10 years, selling at an average $155 per carat in March 2016 terms.
Renard has a 14-year life expectancy.
About 100 kilometres south, Stornoway holds the Adamantin exploration project, where 11 kimberlites drilled so far failed to reveal diamonds.