Stornoway’s vast diamond mine, Quebec’s first, to begin operations in 2016

Stornoway’s vast diamond mine, Quebec’s first, to begin operations in 2016

Renard project mine camp.

Shares in Canadian diamond producer Stornoway (TSX:SWY) were soaring Thursday morning as the company is said to have secured key financing for its flagship Renard project, the first diamond mine in Québec and the world’s biggest undeveloped source of precious gems.

By 11:43 am ET the stock was trading at $1.04, 13.04% higher than in the previous session, as news of a $290 million loan for the miner began to hit the market.

In a brief statement the company said later today that while it does not generally respond to rumors or media speculation, Stornoway was "aware of unusual trading activity in its common shares and reports that the company is in advanced negotiations with a number of parties regarding a comprehensive financing plan for its Renard diamond project located in north-central Québec."

According to Ici Radio Canada (in French), Investissement Québec has committed $220 million and pension fund manager Quebec's Caisse de depot, is contributing with another $70 million.

At the beginning of the week, Stornoway had announced it drew on the second tranche of its unsecured non-revolving bridge credit facility of up to $20 million with Diaquem Inc., and that was planning to use at least $10 million in developing the diamond project.

The project, located near the Otish Mountains in north-central Quebec, is expected to create 850 jobs, from which at least half will be direct jobs.

Stornoway’s vast diamond mine, Quebec’s first, to begin operations in 2016The open pit section will begin operations in 2016, while the underground part of the mine is scheduled to open in 2018.

Total planned production is 17.6 million carats, with an average 1.6 million carats per year, yielding potential revenue of about $5 billion, with a cash-operating margin of 67%.

Stornoway Diamond’s updated feasibility study filed in March last year, shows the Renard project is sitting on one of the biggest undeveloped sources of diamonds in the world.

Its base case estimate of the net present value of the project is $683 million and an internal rate of return of 20% before taxes and mining duties.

But that’s just on the basis of 11 years of definitive reserve mining. Drilling has confirmed there are more diamonds than that under the ground. Way more. Enough, Stornoway has said, for a mine lasting 20 years or longer.