West Africa-focused diamond and gold exploration company Golden Saint Resources updated the market over two of its licences in Sierra Leone on Wednesday - the Baja licence and the Tongo licence.
The AIM-traded firm said that following completion of the vehicular road access at Baja, as announced on 31 October, the local washing plant and ancillary equipment was relocated and assembled at a strategic location close to both the newly-built security house and to the existing stockpile.
"This local plant was commissioned on 13 November 2016 when gravel washing operations commenced," the board said in a statement.
"The initial wash, of about 6 tonnes of gravels from the existing stockpile, has recovered 1.69 carats of rough diamonds, comprising three diamonds, to date."
In addition, the next prospective sites from which gravels will be extracted and washed had been identified, the board said.
It made that claim based on information obtained from field reconnaissance, further supported by final imageries from the aeromagnetic survey data compiled by external independent geophysical consultants in February 2014 which gave the target areas high priority ranking.
At Tongo, during the dewatering operation at the alluvial pit at site one, there was a breakage of the shaft connected to the centrifugal pump, resulting in equipment downtime.
"Additional time was then incurred in sourcing and replacing the damaged shaft," the board explained.
"With the repairs carried out satisfactorily, the dewatering operation was completed on 14 November and the excavator was mobilised to the site to commence gravel extraction operations at Tongo site one."
Golden Saint said gravel extraction using the excavator is expected to take approximately two weeks subject to any unforeseen machinery breakdowns while gravel washing using the recently maintained Dove explorer will take place concurrently.
Security measures that were implemented during the bulk sampling operations carried out in August 2016 will remain in place during these operations.
"With the above planned operations underway in Baja and Tongo, the site visit by Rock Forage and key individuals from the GSR management team will commence on 1 December.
"The visit is timely as it will allow the company's technical consultants to closely examine the production data, thus giving a better assessment of the potential diamond and gold recoveries in both the Company's Baja and Tongo licence areas.
"With the interpretation of these results, it is expected that the exploration strategy going forward will also be fine-tuned accordingly, with the objective of confirming gold and diamond mineralisation."