Australian miner Newfield Resources says it has secured finance to expand the development of its Tongo Diamond Mine, in Sierra Leone.
It has entered into an asset purchase and sales agreement with New York-based DelGatto Diamond Finance Fund (DDFF), at a time when miners globally are struggling to attain credit. Details of the arrangement were not disclosed.
Newfield took over Tongo in March 2018 when it acquired London-based Stellar Diamonds for $23.6m. Before that the mine was owned by by Israeli diamantaire Beny Steinmetz, through Koidu Holdings, in which he held a controlling stake.
Newfield said the DDFF funding would allow it to increase production and maximize value for investors. It held its first diamond sale in May 2022, in an exclusive sales and marketing agreement with Bonas, in Antwerp, and achieved an average price of $262 per carat.
Eleven diamond-bearing kimberlites have been identified on two adjacent mining licences that cover over 134 square kilometre. Five have been incorporated into the current JORC-compliant 8.3 million carat diamond resource estimate.
The mine has an initial eight-year life, with an estimated 250,000-carat production in year 5. It says 80 per cent of its run of mine product is gem quality, compared to a global average of only 20 per cent.
The company’s executive director, Karl Smithson, said: “We are pleased to be working with the team at DelGatto and this deal gives the company the further capital to continue our Tongo Diamond Mine development. We found DelGatto to be knowledgeable and flexible to our requirements.”
George Mashinini, director of DDFF’s Johannesburg office said: “We are thrilled to assist in the growth of the Tongo Diamond Mine, which we believe that it is truly a generational asset.”