The Renard Diamond Project: 13 Years From Discovery, Now Under Construction
Matt Manson, President & CEO, Stornoway Diamond Corporation
Since the first discovery of “faux diamants” by Jacques Cartier at Québec’s Cap Diamant in 1542, a genuine source of gem quality diamonds in North America’s province of “New France” has proved elusive. Now, construction at what will become Québec’s first diamond mine is underway. Ground was broken at Stornoway’s Renard Diamond Project in July 2014 following the completion of a C$946m project financing transaction, the largest ever for a publically listed diamond company. Discovered in 2001 after 5 years of grassroots regional exploration, the project has seen continuous drilling, sampling, bulk sampling, economic study, social and environmental assessment, permitting and infrastructure development since this time. First ore is expected to be delivered to the plant towards the end of 2016 with commercial production scheduled for the second quarter of 2017. The potential for Renard is an average annual diamond production of 1.6m carats at $US190/carat (based on March 2014 pricing) over a long potential mine life, measured as 11 years on its initial Mineral Reserves and more than 20 years on its resource potential. It will supply approximately 2% of world rough diamond production in dollar terms, and extend the profile of Canadian diamonds on the world market.
The Renard Diamond Project provides a valuable case study in the collection and interpretation of scaled diamond sampling data from initial discovery through bulk sampling. A review is provided of the evolution of the geological emplacement model for the Renard kimberlites, and the quality and value characteristics of the Renard diamond population. Comparative diamond valuation data from successive diamond sampling campaigns will be presented, and the potential for Renard to produce large diamonds assessed. Finally, an update is provided on the project’s construction progress.
Matt Manson has 20 years of experience in diamond exploration, development and production. He was appointed President of Stornoway in March 2007 following the acquisition of Ashton Mining of Canada and Contact Diamond Corporation, and subsequently President & CEO in January 2009. Between 1999 and 2005 he was employed by Aber Diamond Corporation (now Dominion Diamond Corporation) as VP Marketing and subsequently VP Technical Services & Control, during which time he participated in the development of the Diavik Diamond Project and oversaw Aber's technical and marketing operations. Matt is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh (BSc Geophysics, 1987) and the University of Toronto (PhD Geology, 1996).