Wednesday 3rd June 2020

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Seeking sub-Arctic ice

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Past exploration found “25-metre-diameter boulders, which led to the discovery of the Munn Lake kimberlite sill, which is up to one and a half kilometres long with width up to 12 metres in places,” he explains. “But they never identified any carrot-like kimberlite bodies, which are more straightforward to mine. That doesn’t mean they’re not there.”

Although the volcanic intrusions that create kimberlites usually form vertical carrot- or funnel-shaped pipes, kimberlites can also appear in tabular form as sills or dykes. The Snap Lake mine and Kennady North project both feature kimberlite dykes.

Yet global giant De Beers gave up on Kennady North. “They didn’t believe the dyke system had the potential Gahcho Kué had. Then Kennady Diamonds comes along and they’re finding blows on the dyke where there’s maybe two faults that come together where there’s a big void. There’s a massive amount of volume filled up in a blow where there’s a localized widening of the dyke. That’s what makes their project so special.”

So the fact that you have boulders on surface coupled with these indicators, plus known kimberlites, means you’re very close to a source. Our compilation of historic data suggests at least four more sources.—Jody Dahrouge,
senior geologist/president of
Dahrouge Geological Consulting

Using modern geophysics by flying Munn Lake with detailed magnetic and gravity surveys, Dahrouge hopes to find kimberlites that previous explorers missed.

“There’s a ton of indicator sampling that’s been done, so we can rely heavily on historic work. Then we can overlay the geophysics on that data set and see if we have potential drill targets.”

Although Canadian diamonds are found in kimberlites, few kimberlites contain diamonds. But at least two on this project do. The indicator trains also show “incredible ratios of G10 garnets, which are associated with diamondiferous kimberlites.”

“There’s all sorts of targets here,” Dahrouge points out. “It’s one of those jewels where there’s indicators upon indicators, there’s diamonds, there’s boulders. One of the very encouraging things that differentiates this from other properties is there’s boulders on surface—a lot of them. So the fact that you have boulders on surface coupled with these indicators, plus known kimberlites, means you’re very close to a source. Our compilation of historic data suggests at least four more sources.”

Immediately south of Gahcho Kué, Prima’s Godspeed Lake obviously benefits from location. When it comes to diamonds, Dahrouge doesn’t discount the principle of closeology. “Kimberlite clusters can be up to 50 kilometres across, hold hundreds of kimberlites and they come up like a shotgun pattern,” he says. “So it’s completely random where they come to the surface, other than requiring a major structure to come through.”

Litigation had tied up the property for several years during the initial diamond rush. Then a previous operator undertook indicator sampling, airborne magnetics and one drill hole before being distracted by another project. “But when you look at the data sets, you see huge gaps. You realize it’s under-explored, there’s big parts of the property that have had no indicator sampling at all. You could easily hide a kimberlite there. That’s why we staked it as opposed to other areas.”

Proximity to infrastructure benefits both Prima properties. Gahcho Kué’s scheduled for production in 2016, putting Godspeed Lake next door to a world-class operation. The nascent mine is currently accessed by a winter road that passes right through Munn Lake.

With forecasts of prices rising steadily while demand outpaces supply, the future looks good for diamonds as a commodity. In fact Dahrouge believes the world faces a predicament of peak diamonds. “There’s a very finite resource of kimberlites in the world and, unlike oil, the increasing price of diamonds doesn’t mean there’s that many more to be found,” he maintains. “We’re probably in the middle of peak diamonds in terms of worldwide production. Demand is growing all over Asia. It’s a great space to be in.”

Disclaimer: Prima Diamond Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Prima Diamond.

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