The Renard underground mine in Canada is running at full capacity, after a slower-than-expected transition from open-pit operations in the first half of the year, Stornoway Diamond Corporation said Tuesday.
The miner is producing 6,039 tonnes of ore per day from the asset, higher than its initial estimated design capacity of 6,000 tonnes per day, it said.
The company had expected the ramp-up to full production to be completed by the end of the second quarter, but issues with equipment and management problems impeded progress. The delays affected Stornoway’s results during the three months ending June 30, as lower-quality production led the company to a net loss of $27.4 million.
“Completion of the underground-mine ramp-up at Renard has not been without its challenges,” said Stornoway CEO Matt Manson. “However, today’s news is validation of the design of the project, the quality of the Renard ore bodies, and the dedication of the Renard mining team and contractors.”
The miner is recovering a higher grade of diamonds from the underground portion, and will continue to process ore from that area for the rest of the year, Manson added.
In May, the company reduced its production expectations for the year to between 1.35 million and 1.4 million carats from its original estimate of 1.6 million carats. Meeting the revised forecast was dependent on Stornoway’s completion of the transition, and maintenance of its production levels.
The miner reached commercial production at Renard in December 2016.