Diamonds, Diamonds Everywhere – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Imagine finding an exceptional, gem-quality white diamond weighing 189.6 carats. ROCKWELL DIAMONDS of Vancouver has done exactly that at its Klipdam mine near Kimberley, South Africa. The company reports that the stone is “oval in shape, somewhat flattened and strongly resorbed, and shows features typical of top colour high-value Type-2 gemstones.”

That description is sure to get everyone’s attention. So will the pictures of diamonds as large as 212-ct in the Diamond Gallery at www.RockwellDiamonds.com.

No less worthy of attention are recent exploration efforts for Canadian diamonds. Teams are finding diamonds and kimberlites at an astonishing rate this summer. Here are a few of them.

Vancouver’s COMMITTEE BAY RESOURCES and INDICATOR MINERALS reported the discovery of kimberlite boulders at the Borden project in Nunavut. Indicator minerals were visually identified in the float, and samples of the boulders have been sent for analysis.

GRIZZLY DIAMONDS of Edmonton has mobilized a drill team to test the Smokey The Bear property close to the BE-02 kimberlite, which has already yielded a total of 54 microdiamonds. The property is located approximately 330 km northwest of Edmonton.

METALEX VENTURES of Kelowna, BC, and partners DIANOR RESOURCES and WEMINDJI EXPLORATION have found yet more purple diamonds at their Ekomiak V target in the James Bay region of Quebec. Metalex counted 94 purple diamonds as well as numerous other coloured stones from a 37-kg surface rock sample. “The main host rocks are conglomerates of Archean age, between 2.716 and 2.733 billion years old, thus making these Quebec diamond discoveries both unique and amongst the oldest diamond bearing occurrence in the world,” according to the company.

Vancouver’s PEREGRINE DIAMONDS has discovered a second and third kimberlite outcrop on the Chidilak property on the eastern coast of Baffin Island, Nunavut. The company has follow-up work planned for 65 kimberlite-type geophysical anomalies. It calls Chidilak a new Canadian diamond district, approximately 700 km from the nearest known kimberlite occurrence.

STORNOWAY DIAMOND CORP. (42%) of Vancouver has received word that its partner SHEAR MINERALS (58%) has discovered the Killiq kimberlite at their Churchill diamond project in Nunavut. Geophysical data indicates that it is a magnetic high, dike-like kimberlite thought to be 75 metres wide and 1.1 km long trending north-south. More till sampling will be done to choose future targets for reverse circulation drilling.

Stornoway’s success continues with news that the size of the highly diamondiferous AV267 sheet at the Aviat project has been doubled. The project is located on the Melville Peninsula in Nunavut. Hunter Exploration has a 10% interest in the project. More auspicious news: a new kimberlite sheet has been discovered within the Eastern Sheet Complex. A conceptual resource study on the AV267 kimberlite is underway.

A single microdiamond has been recovered from Peace River diamond project, a 50/50 joint venture of Saskatoon-based UNITED URANIUM and STAR URANIUM. The find allows the partners to upgrade the source of the dispersal train to a diamondiferous kimberlite.

Not every kimberlite or diamond discovery will become a mine, but finding promising ground in several locations increases the opportunities to develop a new diamond producer.

All this talk about precious stones reminds me that the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is preparing a truly breathtaking exhibit called Light & Stone: Gems from the Collection of Michael Scott. He was the first president of Apple Computers. The exhibit will be on display beginning Dec. 20, 2008. Light & Stone is part of the ROM’s A Season of Gems, which includes the Teck Cominco Suite of Earth Sciences Galleries, which also opens on Dec. 20, and The Nature of Diamonds, presented by De Beers Canada.

So if you can’t wait for another new Canadian diamond mine, a trip to the ROM in the near future will satisfy your cravings.

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