Tuesday 21st February 2017

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘diamonds’

Diggers shed new light on Biblical fight for strategic metals

January 19th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 19, 2017

Fable and fiction have often associated King Solomon’s mines with diamonds or gold. But Israeli archeologists say they’ve gained a new perspective on a 10th century BC site that produced the critical element of its time—copper.

An ancient smelting facility in southern Israel’s Timna Valley was discovered in 1934 but recent excavations have revealed a military fortification, shedding new light on long-distance trade and wars fought over a strategic metal.

Diggers shed new light on the Biblical fight for strategic metals

An aerial view shows remains of the gatehouse, indicating
a “substantial investment in deterrence and defence.”
Secondary metallurgical processes took place nearby.

“While there is no explicit description of ‘King Solomon’s mines’ in the Old Testament, there are references to military conflicts between Israel and the Edomites in the Arava Valley,” said archeologist Erez Ben-Yosef in a statement from Tel Aviv University. “According to the Bible, David travelled hundreds of miles outside of Jerusalem and engaged in military conflict in the desert—striking down ‘18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt.’ Now, having found evidence of defensive measures—a sophisticated fortification—we understand what must have been at stake for him in this remote region: copper.”

The reddish metal “was a rare product and very challenging to produce,” he continued. “Because copper—like oil today, perhaps—was the most coveted commodity, it landed at the very heart of military conflicts. The discovery of the fortification indicates a period of serious instability and military threats at that time in the region.”

Focus of ongoing study by Tel Aviv University, the Timna Valley hosts a number of ancient smelting operations and thousands of mine shafts.

“The historical accuracy of the Old Testament accounts is debated, but archaeology can no longer be used to contradict them,” Ben-Yosef added. “On the contrary, our new discoveries are in complete accordance with the description of military conflicts against a hierarchical and centralized society located south of the Dead Sea.”

Arctic Star looks to B.C. for rare metals and rare earths

January 17th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 17, 2017

A previously acquired property gets new attention as Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD applies for a drill permit to search for niobium, tantalum and rare earth elements in central British Columbia.

Arctic Star looks to B.C. for rare metals and rare earths

Field work during 2010 on the 2,825-hectare CAP project found 481 to 981 parts per million niobium, 1,125 to 3,191 ppm zirconium, over 100 ppm lanthanum, over 100 ppm cerium and over 50 ppm neodymium. Two historic, non-43-101 samples returned strongly anomalous results of 0.13% and 0.1% rare earth elements, the company stated.

A circular magnetic anomaly of about three to five kilometres’ diameter could indicate a carbonatite or similar intrusion at depth, Arctic Star added. “Carbonatite-related deposits are a major host for rare metals, such as niobium and tantalum, and rare earth elements.”

Located about 80 kilometres from Prince George, CAP can be reached by logging roads during the summer and helicopter year-round.

In December the company closed a second tranche of financings totalling $1.47 million, including $300,000 of flow-through earmarked for CAP.

In November Arctic Star announced a JV with Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA on their newly compiled Diagras property in the Northwest Territories’ diamondiferous Lac de Gras region.

Diamonds—2016 glitter in review

December 22nd, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 22, 2016

The stones began the year still mired in their 2015 slump, in which rough prices reportedly fell 15%. The two biggest players, representing nearly two-thirds of global production, didn’t exactly agree on strategy. De Beers cut production and lowered prices while Alrosa initially boosted production, held prices stable and stockpiled some output. By April De Beers raised prices and Alrosa lowered production. The following month had De Beers talking about a “fragile recovery.”

Diamonds—2016 glitter in review

Sales records for polished got pulverized, though. In May Sotheby’s raked in $32 million for the 15.38-carat Unique Pink in a jewelry sale that totalled a world record $175.1 million. The next day Christie’s scooped up $58.25 million for the 14.62-carat Oppenheimer Blue, “a new record price for any gemstone and per carat.”

Rough rode roughshod over records, too. The week before Sotheby’s and Christie’s big sales, Lucara Diamond TSX:LUC got $63.11 million for its fresh-from-the-mine 812.77-carat Constellation. High expectations led to disappointment in late June, however, when the company rejected a $61-million offer for its 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona rough stone, the second-biggest diamond ever found. Lucara wanted at least $70 million.

As for Canadian diamond mining, it thrived.

A 100-million-carat production milestone brought celebrations to Diavik, the Northwest Territories JV of Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO and Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC. In July Dominion finally decided to add the Jay pipe and its 78.6 million carats to the company’s majority-held Ekati mine.

The year brought new mines to Canada too. Gahcho Kué, the world’s largest new diamond producer in 13 years, was officially opened in September by partners De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV. October saw Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY do the same at Renard, Quebec’s first diamond mine. It reached commercial production just days before Christmas.

Looking at potential mines-to-be, Peregrine Diamonds TSX:PGD took its Chidliak project on Baffin Island to PEA in July. In Saskatchewan’s Fort à la Corne region, meanwhile, Shore Gold TSX:SGF continued working on a feasibility update for its majority-held Star-Orion South project. Back in the NWT, Kennady Diamonds TSXV:KDI completed its maiden resource in December.

The company’s Kennady North project sits in the same Lac de Gras region hosting Ekati, Diavik and Gahcho Kué. November marked the 25th anniversary of the Chuck Fipke/Stewart Blusson Ekati discovery that triggered the world’s biggest staking rush, brought diamond mining to Canada and helped transform the diamond industry.

In December the vertically integrated company Almod Diamonds announced plans to broaden the NWT diamond industry, the backbone of the territorial economy, by re-opening a Yellowknife cutting and polishing facility.

A few days after that announcement, the allure of diamonds played out differently in an Atlanta department store. Eighty-six-year-old Doris Payne, a determined, unrepentant and often unsuccessful diamond thief, wracked up another arrest. She’s been stealing stones for over sixty years.

With maiden resource complete, Kennady Diamonds sees PEA late next year

December 14th, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 14, 2016

It’s “quite possibly a record timeframe in the history of Canadian diamond exploration,” according to Kennady Diamonds TSXV:KDI president/CEO Rory Moore. One of several small dykes discovered by the De Beers/Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPV JV in 2000, the Kelvin kimberlite wasn’t drilled until 2012. By that time Mountain Province, preoccupied with the adjacent Gahcho Kué, had created Kennady to investigate the neighbouring turf. On December 12 the spinout released Kelvin’s resource, the first such estimate for the 71,000-hectare Kennady North property.

With maiden resource complete, Kennady Diamonds sees PEA late next year

Kennady has a busy year ahead, with plans for resource
estimates on two additional kimberlites prior to PEA.

Using a one-millimetre bottom cutoff, the all-indicated resource shows 8.5 million tonnes averaging 1.6 carats per tonne for 13.62 million carats of diamonds. Average value comes to $63 per carat.

The deposit extends to a depth of 510 metres, with about 85% within a potential open pit to 330 metres’ depth and the rest a possible underground mine.

It’s been a productive four years and five months since Kennady first put rigs to work. The resource considered 175 holes totalling 40,041 metres, microdiamond samples totalling 20.23 tonnes. a mini-bulk sample of 44.8 tonnes and two more bulk samples totalling 1,067 tonnes. The bulk samples gave up 2,262 carats for valuation.

Announced last month, Antwerp’s verdict—actually two separate valuations that arrived at the same amount—came to an average $52 per carat. But Kennady emphasized the lopsided values of bigger diamonds, including a 2.84-carat stone valued at $2,640 per carat.

Moore pointed to a “similar trend” at Gahcho Kué, five kilometres away. “The five highest-value Kelvin diamonds represent 1% of the sample weight but 20% of the total value. This trend is a key determinant of overall value.”

A PEA’s now scheduled for late 2017 and would incorporate resource estimates to come from the Faraday 2 and 3 kimberlites, which will undergo bulk sampling this winter. Kennady also plans geophysics over 4,233 hectares acquired in August just south of Gahcho Kué. The company will consider exploration drilling following the bulk samples.

Earlier this month Kennady, along with Athabasca Basin uranium standout NexGen Energy TSX:NXE, shared the 2016 Exploration Company of the Year award at Mines and Money London.

Tom Hoefer of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines looks at how native participation grew with the NWT diamond industry

December 7th, 2016

…Read more

Dunnedin Ventures doubles size of Nunavut diamond-gold project

December 7th, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 7, 2016

An additional 66,047 hectares brings Dunnedin Ventures’ (TSXV:DVI) Kahuna property to around 1,200 square kilometres, the company announced December 7. Acquired by staking, the ground now holds over 100 interpreted kimberlite targets, half of them already under scrutiny for diamond indicator minerals from till sampling. Drilling has confirmed 10 diamond-bearing dykes.

Dunnedin Ventures doubles size of Nunavut diamond-gold project

A macrodiamond from Kahuna’s PST kimberlite.

Till sampling has found anomalous gold in five metasedimentary belts, while drilling has found gold in an extension of the Aqpik and Aklak gold showings on Agnico Eagle Mines’ (TSX:AEM) adjacent, advanced-stage Meliadine project, Dunnedin stated. An all-season road links Meliadine with the Hudson Bay hamlet of Rankin Inlet.

Last month Dunnedin announced plans to spin out its non-diamond assets to a new company.

Kahuna has a 2015 inferred resource for near-surface deposits on the Notch and Kahuna dykes, 12 kilometres apart:

  • Kahuna (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.06 million tonnes averaging 1.04 carats per tonne for 3.19 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.8 ct/t for 2.45 million carats

  • Notch (+0.85 mm cutoff): 921,000 tonnes averaging 0.9 ct/t for 829,000 carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.83 ct/t for 765,000 carats

  • Total (+0.85 mm cutoff): 3.99 million tonnes averaging 1.01 ct/t for 4.02 million carats
  • (+1.18 mm cutoff): 0.81 ct/t for 3.22 million carats

Both kimberlites remain open along strike and at depth.

Since then, an 820-kilogram sample from the property’s PST dyke revealed 526 diamonds. Ninety-six surpassed the commercial size of 0.85 millimetres, totalling 5.34 carats. A 2.32-tonne sample from Notch showed 85 commercial-sized stones totalling 1.95 carats.

While processing material from 1,100 till samples collected last summer, Dunnedin anticipates a 2017 program of drilling to test potential extensions of the resources, compile a 1,000-carat parcel for evaluation in Antwerp and try new targets identified by indicator minerals.

Read more about Dunnedin Ventures.

See Chris Berry’s report on long-term diamond demand.

Cash ban hits India’s diamond capital, threatens lower-priced trade

December 2nd, 2016

by Greg Klein | December 2, 2016

India’s sudden ban on 500- and 1,000-rupee notes early last month has suspended at least some operations in the northwestern city of Surat, the world capital of diamond cutting and polishing. Various sources credit the city with transforming approximately 80% of the globe’s rough into jewelry. India is also the world’s third-largest consumer of diamond-ensconced bling.

Cash ban hits India’s diamond capital, threatens lower-priced trade

NDTV reports businesses closing as the lack of cash prevents them from buying rough and paying employees. The government ordered citizens to deposit the notes, worth about $9.77 and $19.54 Canadian, and conduct transactions electronically.

Governments that have limited the use of cash have cited the need to combat terrorism, money laundering, corruption, counterfeiting, tax evasion and the underground economy. Rapaport News stated India’s underground economy constituted 23.2% of GDP, according to 2007 data in the latest World Bank survey.

Only about 30% of Surat’s diamond cutters have bank accounts, NDTV added.

“This industry has been working on an illegal mode of payment in cash until now and to shift to a cashless system will take at least four to six months,” one business owner told the news outlet. But he stated the government decree will eventually benefit merchants and workers. Another source said he expects the suspension to last at least one and a half months.

The two denominations reportedly accounted for 85% or 86% of Indian money in circulation. “The liquidity freeze could influence a global slowdown in demand for lower colour and clarity polished, and in very small melee stones,” Rapaport stated.

Following the first tender of Quebec diamonds in Antwerp last month, Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY president/CEO Matt Manson attributed India’s demonetization to reduced prices and demand for smaller and lower-quality stones. He said some were removed from the event, to be sold later.

India’s government plans to issue new denominations of 500 and 2,000 rupees. But, NDTV reported December 2, an enormous hoard of contraband seized from a group of low-paid government employees included 57 million rupees (in Canuck terms, over $1.11 million) in so-far uncirculated 2,000-rupee notes.

Tom Hoefer of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines recalls the rumours that preceded Canada’s first significant diamond discovery

November 30th, 2016

…Read more

Peregrine Diamonds outlines Nunavut spending plans as Chidliak moves to pre-feas

November 25th, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 25, 2016

Having poured about $23 million into Nunavut so far, Peregrine Diamonds TSX:PGD plans to spend another $15.5 million to $17 million next year on its Chidliak project, the Nunatsiaq News reported November 25. Most of the $23 million went to Iqaluit, home to an estimated 7,590 people. “It will cost between $50 and $75 million to go from here to where we need to get to,” the journal quoted president/CEO Tom Peregoodoff.

Peregrine Diamonds outlines Nunavut spending plans as Chidliak moves to pre-feas

Chidliak would have a 10-year lifespan,
according to last summer’s PEA.

The Baffin Island project reached PEA in July, calling for a capex of $434.9 million, an amount relatively modest for an isolated operation but considerable for a territory of about 37,082 people. The company hopes to reach feasibility by H2 2019, complete permitting by the end of that year and begin construction in H2 2019. Should hopes, financing and feasibility fall into place, Peregrine might be digging diamonds by 2021.

Brothers Robert and Eric Friedland own about 25% and 21% of the company respectively.

New infrastructure would include an all-season road to Iqaluit, about 120 kilometres southwest. The government of Nunavut hopes to have an $85-million deep sea port built there by 2020.

The territory currently has two other mines in production, Agnico Eagle’s (TSX:AEM) Meadowbank gold mine about 300 kilometres west of Hudson Bay and Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River iron ore operation roughly 800 kilometres north of Chidliak. Baffinland trucks ore to its own port, 100 kilometres north of the mine.

Peregoodoff said the company has yet to negotiate an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement, but stated such a deal would probably resemble agreements signed with Northwest Territories diamond producers, the News added.

In October the paper reported Nunavut’s 14,000-member Qikiqtani Inuit Association received more than $24 million over two years from Mary River.

Should Peregrine meet its goal, Chidliak wouldn’t be Nunavut’s first diamond operation. Just across the border from the NWT’s Lac de Gras camp, Nunavut’s Jericho mine produced gems between 2006 and 2008. Shear Minerals gave up on its restart attempt in 2012, leaving taxpayers with a large part of an estimated $10.5-million clean-up bill.

Yet diamond mining transformed the NWT economy. According to figures supplied by the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, between 1996 and 2015 the industry provided over 50,000 person-years of employment, 49% northern and 24% aboriginal. By far the territory’s largest private sector industry, diamond mining created 29% of the NWT’s GDP in 2014. Direct and indirect benefits bring the number up to 40%, according to chamber data.

Read how diamond mining supports the NWT economy.

Peregrine Diamonds outlines Nunavut spending plans as Chidliak moves to pre-feas

NWT Premier Bob McLeod, far right, celebrates aboriginal governments’ contributions to diamond mining
on the industry’s 25th anniversary in the territory. From left are Stanley Anablak (Kitikmeot Inuit Association),
Darryl Bohnet (Northwest Territory Métis Nation), Don Balsillie (Deninu Kué First Nation), Felix Lockhart
(Lutsel K’e and Kache Dene First Nation), Bill Enge (North Slave Métis Alliance), Chief Ernest Betsina and
Chief Edward Sangris (Yellowknives Dene First Nation), Chief Alfonz Nitsiza and Chief Clifford Daniels
(Tłı ̨chǫ Government), and Premier McLeod. (Photo: NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines)

Stornoway Diamond completes first sale

November 23rd, 2016

by Greg Klein | November 23, 2016

Diamantaires in Antwerp got their first look at Quebecois gems over the last nine days, spending $10.2 million on 38,913 carats from Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) Renard mine. The average price came to US$195 per carat.

Stornoway Diamond completes first sale

Renard came in ahead of schedule
for construction, processing and sales.

“Pricing met or was close to our expectations on most items,” president/CEO Matt Manson said. “Recent events in India surrounding demonetization have impacted pricing and demand for certain smaller and lower-quality items and, as a result, a quantity of these were withdrawn from the sale. These will be sold at a later date. Because of this, and because of a higher than expected proportion of small diamonds recovered during the ramp-up period, the result of this first sale cannot be taken as representative of the longer-term pricing profile of the project.”

The sale took place two months earlier than anticipated. Three more sales have been scheduled for Q1 2017.

Having begun ore processing in July, Renard has already surpassed the fiscal year’s guidance of 220,000 carats at an average grade of 97 carats per hundred tonnes. As of November 15 the mine gave up 261,353 carats, averaging 107 cpht. Stornoway credited “a better than expected mix of ore available within the open pit for processing.”

The company expects to reach commercial production, 60% of capacity, by year-end. Stornoway estimates average production will reach 1.8 million carats annually for the mine’s first 10 years, selling at an average $155 per carat in March 2016 terms.

Renard has a 14-year life expectancy.

About 100 kilometres south, Stornoway holds the Adamantin exploration project, where 11 kimberlites drilled so far failed to reveal diamonds.