December 4, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
British diamond developer, Stellar Diamond Company, will be investing more than US$25m in their Tongo diamond project within the first four years of operations, according to Chief Executive Officer Karl Smithson.
Mr. Smithson was speaking immediately after they submitted their final application for a large-scale mining to the National Minerals Agency (NMA).
According to the CEO, they are planning to open a US$1.1 million carats diamond mine in Kenema district – one of the epicenters of the Ebola outbreak last year. He disclosed that the Tongo project Dyke One has a Joint Ore Reserves resource of 1.45-million carats, with a preliminary economic assessment having determined robust economics for an 18-year mine lifespan.
He said there were also opportunities to expand the lifespan of the mine and project economics through the addition of any of the other three dykes in the license area.
He said their latest move was a signal to a stepping stone to the resumption of normal business activities in the country after the economic devastation caused by the Ebola outbreak, adding that hopefully other companies will pay attention and encourage other investors or trigger awareness that the country is again open to business.
Mr. Smithson said there were signs that the country’s economy is bouncing back as the flight to Freetown last week was fully booked.
“I do the trip regularly and it is the first time in a long while I have seen a full plane,” he said.