Gibb River Diamonds has received approval from the Western Australian mines department for its Blina diamond project.
The company, called POZ Minerals until last month, has been granted four mining leases and several exploration leases over a 436 square kilometre area of the Ellendale diamond province in the Kimberley region of WA.
Gibb River will now proceed with bulk sampling, camp construction, and trial and full-scale mining operations as a result of the approvals.
The Blina tenement includes a bulk sampling area (Terrace 5) that has produced diamonds as large as 8.43 carats, including a significant number of fancy yellows.
Gibb River executive chairman Jim Richards said the next phase of operations was now scheduled to “commence at the end of the wet season early next year”.
The company’s licence to build the project’s associated plant and tailings storage facility is being assessed separately by the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER).
The department recently returned its assessment to the company with certain terms and conditions in place. Gibb River expects to be granted this licence in the next two weeks following the satisfaction of these requirements.
Gibb River submitted a mining lease bid last month for the former Ellendale diamond mine after lodging an expression of interest (EOI) in September.
The Ellendale mine went into administration under previous owner Kimberley Diamonds Company in 2015.
Gibb River indicated that while the state government had not finalised a timeline for the EOI process, it may be selected to take over Ellendale in the second quarter of 2019.