DIAMOND EXPLORATION – Big stones, big excitement

The hunt for diamonds shows no sign of slowing down in Quebec, Saskatchewan or Nunavut. There are some very large s...
The hunt for diamonds shows no sign of slowing down in Quebec, Saskatchewan or Nunavut. There are some very large stones being unearthed, and the hope of more keeps explorationists happy.

Vancouver-based ASHTON MINING OF CANADA (www.ashton.ca) reports that it and joint venture partner SOQUEM have found a 5.66-ct and a 1.17-ct diamond from its Lynx South sample. The Lynx anomaly from which the stones were recovered is part of the Foxtrot property in north-central Quebec. Earlier this month a 3.25-ct diamond was found on the Renard anomaly of the same project, and in February bulk sampling of the same anomaly returned 13 diamonds larger than one carat. Renard also returned 10 one-carat-plus diamonds in January, and the largest one weighed 4.30 ct. The drill-indicated tonnage of the four Renard bodies is estimated to contain 17.7 million tonnes of diamondiferous material.

Another large diamond, this one weighing 4.09 ct, has been recovered from the Fort a la Corne project in Saskatchewan, KENSINGTON RESOURCES (www.kensington-resources.com) of Vancouver reported on March 21. The next day, CMJ received another press release saying a 1.39-ct stone had been recovered from another drillhole. The sheer size of the Fort a la Corne kimberlite bodies makes it hard not to find diamonds. The 64 known pipes within the project total about 10 billion tonnes, making it the largest diamond-bearing kimberlite field in the world. The project is a joint venture of Kensington (42.25%), DE BEERS CANADA (42.25%), CAMECO (5.5%) and UEM (10% carried).

SHORE GOLD (www.ShoreGold.com) of Saskatoon has been issuing press releases at a great rate about its Star kimberlite project near Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In February the company had news of 74 diamonds over 1 ct, the largest ones weighing in at 4.55, 4.75, 4.32 and 4.28 ct. Diamond exploration and development is an expensive undertaking, and this month Shore Gold announced that it had raised $116.6 million for further work at the Star project. NEWMONT MINING OF CANADA subscribed to $50.9 million of the offering and gained control of 9.9% of Shore shares. This looks like a win/win deal: junior Shore gets financing to advance its project and the world's largest gold producers gets a toe-hold in diamonds.

On the Melville Peninsula of Nunavut, STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORP. (www.StornowayDiamonds.com) of Vancouver has announced a $7.25-million exploration program for its Aviat project this year. Work will focus on the discovery of new kimberlite bodies within the Tremblay Corridor and will include a large component of drilling, testing a minimum of 25 targets. Drilling should be underway in the first week of April. Other work will include ground geophysics, till sampling and extensive prospecting. The Aviat joint venture is a partnership between Stornoway (70%), BHP BILLITON (20%), and Hunter EXPLORATION GROUP (10%).


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