DMIRS seeks expressions of interest in Ellendale diamond mine

The expression of interest process has begun to find an experienced mining company to reopen the former Ellendale diamond mine.
Date: Monday, 27 August 2018

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is seeking expressions of interest from experienced miners interested in reopening the former Ellendale diamond mine.

Ellendale formerly produced about half of the world’s highly valuable Fancy Yellow diamonds as well as clear and industrial-quality diamonds.

After the mine was closed in 2015, the Minister for Mines and Petroleum created an exemption area under Section 19 of the Mining Act to allow for a new mining company or consortium to apply for a new mining lease.

The successful applicant will be chosen by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston after considering the expressions of interest.

“New processing and innovative marketing could lead to restarting of production at Ellendale,” Minister Johnston said.

“So we are looking for a company that will bring fresh eyes and a new approach which will result in a successful restart of mining operations.”

Minister Johnston said that there were still materials known to contain diamonds when the former operation closed.

“This is a rare opportunity for a suitably qualified company with the ability to mine diamond ore, process it and then market the diamonds,” he said.

The Minister said that there were many instances where materials left behind by one mining and processing operation become a source of profit for another company.

“However, the prime goal is for the remaining resources at the site to be developed for the economic, social and environmental benefit of the site, the regional community, and the State,” he said.

The Minister said that the invited company would be expected to have experience in diamond mining and marketing, commitment to compliance with the approvals and regulatory requirements of mining in Western Australia, to be competent at all the consultation processes needed for community acceptance of its operations, and be able to fund a new operation.

The Minister said that a new operator would not automatically be expected to address all the legacy impacts remaining after the abrupt closure in 2015, but he expected the new company to approach the area with a sense of responsibility to assist in cleaning up heritage issues left by the former miner.

“We will not be telling a new leaseholder how to do its job of mining, but we want to ensure that the successful company does its work safely for its workers, the community and the environment,” he said.

Submissions will be dealt with confidentially through the State Government’s tendering process during the submission of an EOI.

Companies interested in submitting an EOI will have the opportunity to be invited to view the area during a supervised visit in the week beginning 17 September.

Those interested in a site visit will need to register early because logistical issues will limit numbers. The procedure is explained in the Request for Expressions of Interest Ellendale Former Diamond Mine document.

Submissions close on 30 November and will be evaluated by a panel of experts within DMIRS before being presented to the Minister for consideration.

If acceptable EOIs are received, it is expected that the Minister will decide on which company to invite to apply for a new mining lease early in 2019.

For more information, visit the DMIRS website or download this fact sheet.

Details of how to submit an EOI are also in the document Request for Expressions of Interest Former Ellendale Diamond Mine which can be downloaded from the Tenders WA website.