September 16, 2009

Developments in Sierra Leone

  • Joint venture with Thunderball Limited to explore Pipe 3 in Koidu, Sierra Leone.
  • West African Diamonds retains 20% carried interest to the commencement of production.

The board of West African Diamonds (WAD), the AIM listed diamond miner, is pleased to announce the formation of a joint venture with Thunderball, a private Japanese / Sierra Leone company to explore and, if justified, to develop a mine in and around the diamondiferous Pipe 3 kimberlite in the Koidu area of Sierra Leone. Pipe 3 is part of a 26 square kilometre licence, which also includes kimberlite dykes containing high grades of quality diamonds.

Thunderball will immediately begin an intensive exploration of the licence. They will be operator and 80% shareholder in the venture. WAD holds the remaining 20% and will be carried for all expenditure up to the commencement of production.

John Teeling, Chairman, said:
“This is a significant and very welcome development for WAD. The focus of WAD on developing our Bomboko mine in Guinea has meant less time and money have been devoted to evaluating the potential of the Pipe 3 kimberlite and surrounding areas in Sierra Leone. Earlier work by WAD produced a grade of 20 carats per hundred tonnes of high quality gemstones from Pipe 3; we believe the grade could be higher and the pipe could prove to be even bigger. I am delighted that Thunderball has plans for immediate exploration, evaluation and, if justified, development of a hardrock diamond mine on the property. We look forward to working with them and offering them every support”.

This release has been reviewed by Alex van Zyl, Technical Director, West African Diamonds plc. Alex van Zyl (B.Sc. Stellenbosch, B.Sc. Hons. Pretoria) spent a long career in Anglo American in the diamond division, ending up 1990 to 1997 with worldwide responsibility for diamond exploration and evaluation. He was a consultant to De Beers from 1997 to 2002.