Firestone meets mining targets at its key BK11 diamond mine in Botswana

Firestone Diamonds said it reached production plant capacity targets ahead of schedule and recovered a high quality diamond at its BK11 mine in Botswana, raising its expectations for the average value of output at the mine.

It said early diamond recoveries included a 13.74 carat stone, with value estimated at $5,000 (£3,428) per carat. “This recovery is very significant and confirms our expectation that larger diamonds will be recovered at BK11,” chief executive Philip Kenny said. Firestone said it would “comfortably exceed” the target production of 1.5m tonnes a year at the production plant once the phase two commissioning was completed in the fourth quarter of 2010.Firestone, which had agreed to buy rival Kopane Diamond Developments for $71m to get its hands on Kopane’s Liqhobong kimberlite project in July, said plans developed in relation to the mine were at an advanced stage.

But the company said a plant it was building for Debswana Diamond at a Botswana mine would be delayed to allow Debswana to focus on certain higher priority projects.