MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - July 23, 2012) - Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX:SWY) is pleased to announce that it will shortly commence a 5,000 tonne bulk sample program of the Renard 65 Kimberlite pipe, located at Stornoway's 100% owned Renard Diamond Project in north-central Quebec.
The objective of the bulk sample program is to collect a large enough parcel of diamonds to allow the conversion of material that is currently classified as an Inferred Mineral Resource to an Indicated Mineral Resource and then, if warranted, to a Mineral Reserve. Five thousand tonnes will be acquired from a previously opened trench where the R65 kimberlite is exposed at surface at its northern extent, and will be processed initially at Stornoway's 10 tonne per hour dense media separation plant located at the project site. Final diamond recovery will be conducted at Stornoway's North Vancouver lab facilities. The program is budgeted at C$2.5million, and is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. Given previously measured grades at the sampling site, it is expected that approximately 1,000 carats of diamonds will be recovered, which will be sent to Antwerp, Belgium for valuation.
Matt Manson, President and CEO, commented: "The Renard 65 bulk sample program announced today offers the opportunity to add a large tonnage of open pit reserves to the Renard mine plan. Renard 65 is the largest of the project's kimberlites, and although its grade is lower than Renard 2 and 3, its diamond characteristics are similar and it is easily accessible from surface. The cost of developing an open pit at Renard 65 is already included in the Renard Feasibility Study, as a borrow pit for backfill waste required in the underground mine, and as a sump for water management. However, as an Inferred Mineral Resource, ore extracted from this pit is excluded from the Feasibility Study's production schedule. The upgrading of Renard 65's resource classification this year is expected to add value to the project by allowing an immediate expansion of planned processing capacity from 6,000 to 7,000 tonnes per day, and by extending the reserve mine life beyond the current 11 years. Renard has a considerable resource upside potential, and this sampling program will allow us to pursue the project's continued growth as we work towards final project financing."
In November 2011, Stornoway released the first National Instrument ("NI") 43-101 compliant Mineral Reserve estimate for Renard of 18.0 Mcarats (representing 23.0 million tonnes at an average grade of 78 carats per hundred tonnes, or "cpht") at a weighted average diamond valuation of US$180/carat. The project's Inferred Mineral Resources comprise an additional 17.5 Mcarats (31.1 Mtonnes at an average grade of 56 cpht), and targets for further exploration outside of the Mineral Resource statement have been estimated at between 23.5 and 48.5 Mcarats (55.1 to 75.5 Mtonnes at grades ranging from 23 to 188 cpht). Within this resource inventory, Renard 65 contains an Inferred Mineral Resource of 3.7 Mcarats (representing 12.9 mtonnes at an average grade of 29 cpht) to a depth of 290m, with an exploration potential estimated at between 6.8 and 13.7 Mcarats (29.5 to 41.6 Mtonnes at between 23 and 33 cpht) from 290m to 775m in depth.
The reader is cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. In addition, the potential quantity and grade of any exploration target is conceptual in nature, and it is uncertain if further exploration will result in it being delineated as a mineral resource.
About the Renard Diamond Project
The Renard Diamond Project is located approximately 250 km north of the Cree community of Mistissini and 350 km north of the communities of Chibougamau and Chapais in the James Bay region of North-Central Québec. In November 2011, Stornoway released the results of a Feasibility Study for Renard that highlighted the potential of the project to become a significant producer of high value rough diamonds over a long mine life. NI 43-101 compliant Probable Mineral Reserves stand at 18.0 million carats, with a further 17.5 million carats classified as Inferred Mineral Resources, and 23.5 to 48.5 million carats classified as non-resource exploration upside. All kimberlites remain open at depth. Pre-production capital cost stands at C$802 million, with a life of mine operating cost of C$54.71/tonne giving a 68% operating margin over an initial 11 year mine life. Production start-up is scheduled for 2015. In March 2012 Stornoway entered into the Mecheshoo Agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Itschee) in respect to the Renard Diamond Project, and joined Chibougamau and Chapais in a Declaration of Partnership in July 2012. Readers are referred to the technical report dated December 29, 2011 for further details and assumptions relating to the project.
About Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Stornoway is a leading Canadian diamond exploration and development company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY. Our flagship asset is the 100% owned Renard Diamond Project, on track to becoming Québec's first diamond mine. Stornoway also maintains an active diamond exploration program with both advanced and grassroots programs in the most prospective regions of Canada. Stornoway is a growth oriented company with a world class asset, in one of the world's best mining jurisdictions, in one of the world's great mining businesses.
On behalf of the Board
STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORPORATION
Matt Manson, President and Chief Executive Officer
This press release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements, referred to herein as "forward-looking statements", are made as of the date of this press release and the Company does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by law.
Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of mineral resources and exploration targets; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) net present value and internal rates of return of the mining operation; (iv) assumptions relating to capital costs, operating costs and other cost metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (v) assumptions relating to gross revenues, operating cash flow and other revenue metrics set out in the Feasibility Study; (vi) assumptions relating to recovered grade, average ore recovery and other mining parameters set out in the Feasibility Study; (vii) mine expansion potential and expected mine life; (viii) expected time frames for completion of permitting and regulatory approvals and making a production decision; (ix) future exploration plans; (x) future market prices for rough diamonds; and (xi) sources of and anticipated financing requirements. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "assumes", "intends", "strategy", "goals", "objectives" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements are made based upon certain assumptions by Stornoway or its consultants and other important factors that, if untrue, could cause the actual results, performances or achievements of Stornoway to be materially different from future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Such statements and information are based on numerous assumptions regarding present and future business strategies and the environment in which Stornoway will operate in the future, including the price of diamonds, anticipated costs and ability to achieve goals. Certain important factors that could cause actual results, performances or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) estimated approval date of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment; (ii) required capital investment and estimated workforce requirements; (iii) estimates of net present value and internal rates of return; (iv) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms within commonly experienced time frames; (v) the assumption that a production decision will be made, and that decision will be positive; (vi) anticipated timelines for the commencement of mine production; (vii) anticipated timelines related to the Route 167 extension and the impact on the development schedule at Renard; (viii) anticipated timelines for community consultations and the impact of those consultations on the regulatory approval process; (ix) market prices for rough diamonds and the potential impact on the Renard Project's value; and (x) future exploration plans and objectives.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important risk factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates, assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, including the assumption in many forward-looking statements that other forward-looking statements will be correct, but specifically include, without limitation, (i) risks relating to variations in the grade, kimberlite lithologies and country rock content within the material identified as mineral resources from that predicted; (ii) variations in rates of recovery and breakage; (iii) the greater uncertainty of exploration targets; (iv) developments in world diamond markets; (v) slower increases in diamond valuations than assumed; (vi) risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar; (vii) increases in the costs of proposed capital and operating expenditures; (viii) increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing if any; (ix) tax rates or royalties being greater than assumed; (x) results of exploration in areas of potential expansion of resources; (xi) changes in development or mining plans due to changes in other factors or exploration results of Stornoway; (xii) changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; (xiii) risks relating to receipt of regulatory approvals or the implementation of the existing Impact and Benefits Agreement with aboriginal communities; (xiv) the effects of competition in the markets in which Stornoway operates; (xv) operational and infrastructure risks; and (xvi) the additional risks described in Stornoway's most recently filed Annual Information Form, annual and interim MD&A, and Stornoway's anticipation of and success in managing the foregoing risks. Stornoway cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.
When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to Stornoway, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Stornoway does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by Stornoway or on our behalf, except as required by law.