NUNAVUT - TRUE NORTH GEMS of Vancouver has unearthed a new sapphire prospect, the Kikturiaq occurrence, at its Beluga property near Kimmirut on the south coast of Baffin Island. The near-complete crystal weighing 139.2 ct that was recovered is described as a well-formed, barrel-shaped prism that has been broken into three fragments. The largest fragment weighs 90.6 ct and measures 15 mm in diameter and 20 mm long. The colouring - a colourless core and bright to dark blue outer rim - is typical of stones found at the Beluga project. Clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. Brittle fracturing overprinted by recent surface weathering, has affected the exposed sapphire crystals.
Nine discrete sapphire showings were found along the 225-metre-long, arc-shaped Kikturiaq occurrence, and mini-bulk samples were excavated using Pionjar drills, feathers and wedges. Four additional new sapphire occurrences were identified on the property, including the Imakkuutuq occurrence, which contained six sapphire showings, located 500 metres southeast of the Kikturiaq. Grab samples were collected for mineralogical analysis, with bulk sampling planned for 2008.
Photos of some of the Beluga sapphires are available at www.TrueNorthGems.com, but a photo of the most recent large stone was not yet posted at press time.