The former Ellendale diamond mine area in the West Kimberley is heading towards a new lease of life.
Gibb River Diamonds has accepted an offer to apply for new tenements at Ellendale and India Bore Diamond Holdings has been invited to apply for other tenements at the site.
Before mining activities can commence, the companies will need to undertake more diamond exploration in their new tenure, conduct extensive consultations with key stakeholders in the region and develop mining plans for approval.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said it’s not going to happen overnight, but restarting mining operations at the former Ellendale mine will be a high point in the rejuvenation of diamond exploration and mining in the Kimberley.
“It has taken 12 months to get to this point, but the State Government’s tendering process is highly confidential and very thorough, so it is pleasing to have the EOI process wrapped up.”
“The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has spent $230,000, through the Mining Rehabilitation Fund, to ensure the site is environmentally safe, stable and non-polluting, and ready for a new operator.
The two open cuts at Ellendale, about 135 kilometres east of Derby, produced almost 1.3 million carats of gem and industrial-quality diamonds from 2002 to 2015.
During operation, Ellendale produced about half of the world’s Fancy Yellow diamonds. Geological re-examination of the ground confirms there are prospects of further discoveries.
After the mine closed in 2015, the Government created an exemption area under Section 19 of the Mining Act to allow miners to apply for new mining tenure.
As part of its custodianship, the department consulted extensively with stakeholders including local government, Aboriginal interests, the police and pastoralists.