Stellar Diamonds secures environmental approval for Sierra Leone project

West Africa-focused Stellar Diamonds (LON:STEL) said Wednesday it has received environmental approval for its wholly owned Tongo Dyke-1 project in Sierra Leone.

The company, which applied for large scale mining in the country earlier this year, said the approval of its environmental, social and health impact assessment (ESHIA) marks another key step in the process of moving towards development of the 1.45 million carat diamond resource at Tongo Dyke-1, one of the four kimberlite dykes at Stellar Diamonds’ Tongo project.

According to a preliminary economic assessment, Tongo has the capacity of producing almost one million carats of diamonds over 18 years.

Chief executive Karl Smithson said the company had also recently successfully concluded a surface rental agreement with landowners and other key stakeholders. This, he noted, will now be incorporated in to a legally binding agreement.

A preliminary economic assessment in August indicated the project might produce almost one million carats of diamonds over 18 years, generating $387 million in revenues.

Initial investment during the first four years is estimated to be $24.8 million, which will enable the establishment of surface and underground mining.