The former Ellendale diamond mine area in the West Kimberley is heading towards a new lease of life.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston is pleased to announce that Gibb River Diamonds has accepted his offer to apply for new tenements at Ellendale and has invited India Bore Diamond Holdings to apply for other tenements at the site.
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.
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.
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 stated by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:
“The McGowan Government is supportive of the mining industry and, in particular, creating jobs for Western Australians.
“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.
“As part of its custodianship, the department consulted extensively with stakeholders including local government, Aboriginal interests, the police and pastoralists.”