Mantle Diamonds Limited is a private UK based diamond exploration and mining company with projects at varying levels of exploration and development in Botswana, Canada, Finland and the DRC.
The company was established in September 2005, and is currently held by a variety of institutions such as BlackRock and Pacific Road Capital Management, as well as private equity funds and private investors. Originally founded on grass roots exploration, the company is now focused on the identification and acquisition of highly prospective diamond assets with near term production capability. The company also plans to grow by consolidation and through the natural evolution of its existing projects.
In Botswana, Mantle has recently completed a substantive engineering refurbishment of its 100% owned Lerala Diamond Mine. Commissioning is currently underway with production scheduled for March 2012 and the first sales of Lerala diamonds planned to take place in April. The Lerala Diamond Mine has probable reserves measuring 11mt and with a grade of 28cpht and an approximate mine life of 7 years.
In Canada, Mantle has a land holding of approximately 330,000 acres in the NWT, much of which is in a joint venture managed by Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. This is all prime ground within 50km of the established Ekati (BHP Billiton) and Diavik (Rio Tinto) mines. In Ontario, Mantle has undertaken a substantial airborne geophysical survey over a large area to the northwest of De Beers’ Victor Mine. A large number of targets have been staked in preparation for follow-up drilling.. The projects are at various stages from grassroots to advanced and exploration is ongoing.
In Finland, Mantle has a joint venture with Firestone Diamonds Plc on the Lahtojoki kimberlite pipe. Lahtojoki is a 1.8 hectare diamondiferous kimberlite with a drill ready indicated grade of 35cpht. Mantle currently hold 34% of the project and has the ability to earn up to 70%.
In the DRC, Mantle holds a 70% interest in 7 iron ore exploration licences covering an area of 2769.5 km² in the north-eastern part of the DRC close to the town of Isiro. A Letter of Intent was signed with Rio Tinto plc in 2009 whereby Rio Tinto will manage the exploration program on these 7 licences and earn in through staged expenditure.