EXPLORATION: Snowfield tumbles on bulk sample results

VANCOUVER -- Four tiny diamonds failed to impress SNOWFIELD DEVELOPMENT investors, sending the company's share pric...


VANCOUVER -- Four tiny diamonds failed to impress SNOWFIELD DEVELOPMENT investors, sending the company's share price down 59% in recent trading.

A 1,044-kg batch of concentrate derived from a 100-ton bulk sample from the company's Ticho project in the Northwest Territories produced just 0.11 carat of diamonds from four small stones.

Snowfield's share price had gained some 20 over the past few months in anticipation of the first bulk sample results. After the results came out its price fell 26.5 or 59% to close at 18.5 on record volume of 16.7 million shares. The company has a 52-week trading range of 17 to 54 and has 83.2 million shares issued.

Snowfield has been exploring the Ticho kimberlitic diamond project, which is near Yellowknife in the South Slave Craton, since 2004. Drilling proved the kimberlite to be diamondiferous but for two years the company failed to extract a bulk sample.

By 2007 Snowfield had successfully constructed a decline ramp through the granite and diabase cap covering the kimberlite and last summer removed a 500-ton bulk sample. By November the company had shipped 100 tons of the sample to the DeBeers Canada dense media separation plant in Alberta for processing. The concentrate was divided into three batches; two were sent to independent Canadian diamond recovery laboratories and one was sent to the DeBeers lab in Johannesburg.

The recent results came from just one of those batches, a 1,044-kg sample processed at the Saskatchewan Research Council's laboratory. Diamond recovery via x-ray fluorescence recovered two macro diamonds weighing 8.57 mg collectively and no micro diamonds. Diamond recovery using a grease table recovered two more macro diamonds for an additional 13.32 mg.

The company is still awaiting results from the remaining two concentrate samples. Results from the sample sent to DeBeers in South Africa are expected in early April; Snowfield has not yet received a timeline estimate from the second Canadian lab, Kennecott Canada Exploration.

-- By The Northern Miner staff.


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