The department is satisfied the plan meets the requirements of the mining management act and Merlin can commence mining at the five pits that comprise the mine.
Mining contractors mobilising
Merlin has paid an additional security of $316,369, taking the total to $1.092 million.
The mining contract has been awarded to Rusca Bros Services, which is now mobilising on site.
In June the company ordered new processing equipment from China and South Africa, which it expects will further boost diamond production at the mine.
A new trommel scrubber wash plant and dense medium separation (DMS) module will form part of ongoing optimisation at the operation.
The plant takes a top grade scrubber and adds a high-performance screening and sizing trommel onto the end of it.
The trommel scrubber wash plant is expected to reduce downtime and increase throughput.
Merlin also expects production to improve when mining of the large kimberlite pipe at the Ector pit begins.
This pipe has one of the highest proportions of larger diamonds compared to other pipes at Merlin and has had very little mining in the past.
During a short, five-year operational life starting in 1998, the Merlin mine was renowned for the production of top quality white diamond and large specials, the largest being 104.73 carats.