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(In Canada, explorers typically search for kimberlite bodies, occasionally in tabular formations but usually in funnel- or carrot-shaped vertical pipes, that might contain diamonds.)
“That’s led to continued exploration in an area that’s shown to be fertile for diamonds vis-à-vis the Candle Lake and the Fort à la Corne kimberlite fields, and now potentially the Pikoo kimberlite field.”
Dahrouge says last November’s Pikoo discovery took almost everyone by surprise, even many geologists. That, despite previous geochemical results comparable to the NWT’s Slave province. From the 1940s to the ’60s, prospectors in the area between Flin Flon, Manitoba, and Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, would come across rough diamonds—inexplicably, it then seemed. “Initial reports claimed the guys were crazy, but they were finding raw diamonds and they had to have come from somewhere. Clearly, Pikoo’s potentially the area they were coming from.”
Another “mystery,” Dahrouge says, was found about 20 years ago at Sturgeon Lake near Prince Albert, “a large, rafted block of kimberlite that measured 100 by 200 metres in diameter—clearly a pipe that was eroded and transported a great distance. Could this have been transported from that Pikoo region?”
Canada is still under-developed with respect to diamond exploration. It’s kind of like the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan. Every 10 years there’s a new exploration cycle that spurs on exploration results and discoveries.—Jody Dahrouge,
senior geologist/president of
Dahrouge Geological Consulting
Exploration, especially geophysics, has come a long way since Fipke and Blusson trudged through the tundra. Till sampling first revealed Ekati’s pipes, followed by aeromagnetics and electromagnetics which defined the first cluster.
“Over time other geophysical techniques were employed, such as gravity,” Dahrouge explains. “A lot of kimberlite pipes don’t have magnetic signatures but the density contrast as evidenced by gravity can show an anomaly and give you an exploration target which you could surface-sample or drill.”
“The advent of better and better technology is leading to more and more discoveries, in particular around the Ekati area.”
But diamonds distinguish themselves from other minerals for the unique characteristics of individual stones. Value, assessed by overseas experts, trumps grade. Value is “absolutely critical,” Dahrouge emphasizes. “Without high dollar valuations, grade doesn’t really mean anything.”
Size, shape, colour and clarity determine value. De Beers, which now controls about 40% of the world market, “combines these factors into 12,000 different, identifiable categories of diamonds,” the company states. Once cut and polished, the stones become dazzling objects admired for their four Cs of colour, clarity, cut and carats. Or, to be less technical, bling “inexorably linked to romantic love and a symbol of lasting commitment,” according to the Dundee report.
Prior to Pikoo, Canadian exploration centred almost entirely on the NWT, “where there’s so much fertile ground,” Dahrouge points out. East and south of Snap Lake, and around Gahcho Kué where, for example, Kennady Diamonds TSXV:KDI is drilling adjacent to the mine development project, part of the Slave Craton “is starting to get a fair bit of attention. There’d been a paucity of exploration there historically but there’s been exceptional results.”
Other parts of the North offer potential too, as Peregrine Diamonds TSX:PGD has found on Baffin Island. Alberta, especially the Buffalo Head Hills area, has also attracted interest, as has Manitoba, Dahrouge says. “You just never know where the next discovery is going to come from.”
“Canada is still under-developed with respect to diamond exploration,” he emphasizes. “It’s kind of like the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan. Every 10 years there’s a new exploration cycle that spurs on exploration results and discoveries…. Discoveries can happen in clusters and that could happen in Pikoo and elsewhere.”
But while diamond prices have been rising, Zimtu’s Hodge says “that doesn’t mean exploration stocks have felt that yet. That’s coming, and that’s really where the opportunity is for companies like Zimtu and for investors to anticipate that rising demand, shortening of supply and the fact that people want to buy Canadian diamonds.”
Disclaimer: Zimtu Capital Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of ResourceClips.com. The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Zimtu Capital.
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