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Mining at long-dormant Aussie mine to begin 'in September'

India Bore Diamond Holdings (IBDH), one of two Australian companies currently operating at the Ellendale site in Western Australia – which has been dormant since 2015 – has indicated it could begin small-scale mining operations as early as September 2021.

The company was granted additional mining leases by the West Australian government in July.

It has also recently completed a Heritage Impact Assessment survey with traditional owners, paving the way for authorities to approve the commencement of mining operations.

Peter McNally, managing director IBDH, told the ABC, "We've got a fairly extensive gravel channel there to mine and in a few weeks' time we should have approval to commence commercial mining where those good diamonds are.

"I'm fairly confident that it will be approved, and we hope to be mining in September."

Peter McNally, India Bore Diamond Holdings
Peter McNally, India Bore Diamond Holdings
"In a few weeks' time we should have approval to commence commercial mining where those good diamonds are"
Peter McNally, India Bore Diamond Holdings

Opened in 1976, Ellendale is located 135km east of Derby in the West Kimberley; following the closure of the iconic Argyle Mine in November 2020, it is one of two remaining viable diamond mines in Australia, alongside the Merlin site in the Northern Territory.

It once supplied approximately 50 per cent of the world's yellow diamonds, with McNally explaining, "They're not as rare as the pinks, the reds or the blues [but] the yellow diamonds are probably still the most popular of the coloured diamonds.

“We will look to learn from the experience that Argyle had and how they taught the world to market diamonds."

The other mining company operating at Ellendale, Perth-based Burgundy Diamond Mines (BDM), has similar plans.

Peter Ravenscroft, managing director BDM, has said the company hopes to follow the Argyle "template": "We will be looking at rebranding them, potentially even changing the name of the Ellendale diamonds and taking them to market ourselves," he told the ABC.

BDM is currently in the process of building a bulk-sampling plant, with “smaller and more mobile” production estimated to begin by the fourth quarter of 2022.

More reading:
New focus on old diamond mine: Ellendale to get new lease of life
Fancy colour diamonds: A natural selection
Australian diamond mine revived with new deal
New owner for historic Australian diamond mine

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