Stellar Diamonds has signed a contract for a front-end engineering and design (FEED) study for the Tongo-Tonguma kimberlite dyke diamond project in Sierra Leone.

The contract follows on from a tribute mining agreement signed with Octea Mining last week.

The FEED study will be carried out for the underground mine development of the project.

PPM, along with SRK Consulting, will define the near-surface geology of the kimberlites in the project and final capital expenditure definitive estimate and the operating cost budgets.

The FEED study will enable to select suitable technical requirements to execute the project, helping to implement correct underground mine design, as well as treatment plant design and layout.

The important FEED elements and deliverables include mining, underground technical, hydrology, Underground infrastructure, hydrogeology, surface geotechnical, surface infrastructure and bulk services (power and water supply).

Other elements and deliverables comprised of treatment plant, Security and product protection, Operational readiness, procurement and logistics, project execution plan, infill drilling and others.

Stellar Diamonds chief executive Karl Smithson said: “The FEED is a very important first step in the mine development process. PPM are highly experienced in the delivery of diamond mine projects and together with SRK Consulting they will refine all elements of the mine plan as determined in the PEA to higher levels of confidence in order to reduce the project delivery risk.

“With over 66,000m of drilling completed at the Project to date, we will undertake mine plan related drilling to a depth of 75m concurrent with the FEED study.”