I wish I had the money to run out and buy a one-owner diamond mine in good shape. That is exactly what Toronto-based Tahera Diamond Corp. has on the block, now that the necessary approvals have been received to sell its Jericho diamond mine and all related milling, mining and exploration assets.
Nunavut's first, and only, diamond mine was opened in 2006 and closed in 2008. It produced a total of 786,000 ct of gem quality diamonds, including over 1,100 stones larger than 10 ct. There was even one 58-ct stone. The most recent estimate from the Central Lobe kimberlite pipe puts indicated resources at 1.14 million tonnes grading 1.40 ct/t and inferred resources at 480,000 tonnes grading 1.23 ct/t. Resources in four adjacent pipes have also been inferred.
Interested parties may read the January 2010 preliminary economic assessment for the Jericho project at www.JerichoDiamonds.ca. For those of us who are merely window-shopping, the website also a an extensive gallery of images from the project
Why couldn't Tahera make a go of it?
Part of the answer lies in the sad fact that after spending $104 to build the Jericho mine, Tahera discovered it was a money-loser from the day it opened. A strengthening Canadian dollar and the rising costs of labour and materials took their toll. The company sought creditor protection in January 2008.
Part of the answer may lie in that Tahera was too small. The company had no alternate source of income to sustain it, unlike larger established diamond producers.
I have no idea who might be interested in buying the Jericho mine or what it might be worth. But it won't be long until a potential new owner comes forward. Tahera Is accepting offers until March 1, 2010, in hopes of wrapping up the deal by the end of that month.