Newfield Resources is set for a first run of diamonds at its Tongo mine development in Sierra Leone. The company made the announcement and said they have already dug 845m of underground a return air way shaft is getting tantalisingly close to its targeted level. The Kundu decline is about to access the first mining level with services such as power, air and water pump stations constructed along the way.
Development of the return air way continued towards the ventilation shaft with only 46m remaining before the ventilation raise is reached. The raise is designed to be 2m by 2m in diameter with a staircase from the return airway to the surface to provide an escape route for mine personnel.
Two 75 kilowatt fans are planned to be installed at the surface of the ventilation shaft to draw air out of the mine and complete the ventilation circuit. The return air way is being developed along strike from the diamond bearing kimberlite reef with diamond ore encountered being stockpiled on the surface.
Meanwhile the Kundu decline, which is the main access route into the Tongo diamond mine, has continued towards the first mining level that sits approximately 35m below the surface. Underground support and infrastructure including electrification, ventilation, compressed air and water pump stations are being progressively installed as development continues and four pump stations have been installed to date to effectively dewater the mine and provide dry working conditions.
A rescue bay has also been built to allow workers to find safe refuge in the event of an underground incident. Development of the return air way is planned to continue over the next two months recovering ore in the process with commencement of the ventilation rise set to commence imminently thereafter.
The Tongo diamond mine covers approximately 134 square kilometres in eastern Sierra Leone. 11 diamond bearing kimberlites have been identified at the project, of which only five have been incorporated into the current JORC-compliant 8.3 million carat diamond resource estimate. Newfield is getting close now and all eyes will be on the company as it rapidly ticks boxes on its pathway to pulling carats from its enormous glittering resource at Tongo.