by Greg Klein | August 5, 2015
A 54,000-hectare property in the Northwest Territories’ diamond-rich Lac de Gras region has come under renewed attention by Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD. After reviewing previous work on the T-Rex project, the company announced on August 5 it plans further exploration itself.
Details of the plans weren’t divulged. But Arctic Star stated it “has verified through research and compilation that the property hosts over a dozen kimberlites, most of them diamondiferous.”
The company’s staked ground overlaps the Hardy Lake property explored by De Beers between 1992 and 2003 and by Majescor Resources TSXV:MJX for another five years under option. The latter company “reported 26 high-interest areas defined by anomalous kimberlite indicator mineral samples and kimberlite float,” according to Arctic Star. In 2005 Majescor stated that “large, very prospective sectors [of Hardy Lake] have been inadequately sampled.”
De Beers collected 2,335 till samples, with 1,000 showing kimberlite indicator minerals on Hardy Lake. The global giant analysed 29,123 minerals and put Hardy Lake through 16,709 line-kilometres of geophysics, 144 geophysical grids and 137 drill holes, according to Arctic Star. The company stated it acquired about 65% of De Beers’ data that was filed as assessment work and “forms a strong basis for future exploration.”
Costs would benefit from the site’s proximity to the Tibbitt-to-Contwoyto winter road, which is “expected to be ploughed as far as the Jay kimberlite for decades to come,” Arctic Star stated. The route links Dominion Diamond’s (TSX:DDC) majority-held Ekati mine with Yellowknife, 400 kilometres south by road.
Currently undergoing permitting, Jay could potentially add 11 years to Ekati, extending its lifespan to 2031. Dominion hopes to begin Jay’s construction next year.
Lac de Gras also hosts two other diamond mines, Rio Tinto NYE:RIO/Dominion’s 60/40 Diavik and De Beers’ Snap Lake. Combined, the three operations place the NWT third globally for diamond production by value.
De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV expect to add a fourth Lac de Gras operation by H2 2016 with Gahcho Kué, considered the world’s richest diamond development project.
In June Arctic Star reported preliminary geophysical and surficial geology evaluations from its Redemption project, also in Lac de Gras. With work carried out by 55% earn-in partner North Arrow Minerals TSXV:NAR, the results will be used to define targets for a spring 2016 drill program, the companies stated.