Sunday 25th August 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘diamonds’

Diamond beneficiation returns to NWT as Yellowknife plant revived

August 14th, 2019

by Greg Klein | August 14, 2019

Delays and missteps notwithstanding, Yellowknife once again has a diamond cutting and polishing facility in operation. On August 13 Almod Diamonds announced its Crown of Light factory had transformed a first batch of rough stones into jewelry. The parent company of Diamonds International specializes in its proprietary 90-facet Crown of Light cut, marketed largely through tax- and duty-free retailers in the Caribbean and other cruise ship destinations.

Diamond beneficiation returns to NWT as Yellowknife facility revived

Almod reintroduces cutting and polishing to one of the
world’s most important diamond-mining jurisdictions.
(Photo: Almod Diamonds)

The YK operation takes place under the Northwest Territories’ amended Diamond Policy Framework, which seeks to expand benefits from diamond mining, by far the territory’s largest private sector employer. The policy seeks to have 10% of NWT-mined diamonds cut and polished within the territory, with experienced staff training local workers.

Currently the sole company taking part, Almod stated that increasing demand for its patented cut “created the need for this factory to invest in building a skilled team to cut the Crown of Light. The goal is to continue skills transfer and career development.”

The company hopes expanded operations will lead to a grand opening tentatively scheduled for next year.

Almod has planned a YK operation since buying the Laurelton factory in 2016 but failed to meet its 2017 opening target. Despite government incentives, previous attempts to encourage NWT diamond beneficiation have failed. Laurelton Diamonds and Arslanian Cutting Works shut down their local operations in 2009. In 2013 Deepak International vowed to revive the industry. But by 2017 RCMP were looking for president Deepak Kumar, alleging he fraudulently used storage containers full of junk as collateral for a loan of more than $1 million.

As a De Beers sightholder, Almod gets its NWT rough from Gahcho Kué, a 51%/49% JV that the global giant shares with Mountain Province Diamonds TSX:MPVD. The territory’s other two diamond producers are Ekati (majority-held by Dominion Diamond Mines) and Diavik (Rio Tinto NYSE:RIO/Dominion).

Almod also runs cutting and polishing facilities in New York, Namibia and Ukraine.

Nunavut art, Nunavut gold celebrate Nunavut anniversary numismatically

June 26th, 2019

by Greg Klein | June 26, 2019

A bit late for the April 1 birthday but an impressive work just the same, the Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled its latest collector coin commemorating Nunavut’s creation. The gold comes from two territorial mines and the design from a Nunavummiuq artist.

Nunavut art, Nunavut gold celebrate Nunavut anniversary

The most recent coin displays
Germaine Arnaktauyok’s work.

“The Mint is passionate about honouring Canadian talent and celebrating our exceptional cultural diversity through beautifully crafted coins,” said president/CEO Marie Lemay. “We are proud to honour Germaine Arnaktauyok’s artistic legacy, in pure Nunavut gold, to wish the people of this important territory a happy 20th anniversary.”

With one-tenth of an ounce of 99.99% yellow metal from Agnico Eagle Mines’ (TSX:AEM) Meadowbank and TMAC Resources’ (TSX:TMR) Hope Bay mines, the coin has a face value of $20 but sells for $359.95 in a limited edition of 1,500. The piece depicts an Inuit drummer that Arnaktauyok created for a circulating toonie struck in 1999 on the new territory’s birth. The flip side portrays the Queen.

Nunavut art, Nunavut gold celebrate Nunavut anniversary

A 2018 coin featured Andrew Qappik’s images.
(Photos: Royal Canadian Mint)

It’s the second coin in a year featuring Nunavut gold and artistry. In June 2018 the Mint released a $20 piece using Meadowbank and Hope Bay gold as the canvas for Andrew Qappik’s images of a walrus, ptarmigan, polar bear, bowhead whale and narwhal.

By far Nunavut’s largest private sector employer, the industry now has four territorial mines in operation, including Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River and Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine, which achieved commercial gold production just last month. Agnico Eagle also has Amaruq, a satellite project 50 kilometres northwest of Meadowbank, slated for commercial production in Q3.

At Hope Bay, TMAC hopes to begin production on its Madrid and Boston gold deposits in 2020 and 2022 respectively, adding to current output from the Doris operation.

Baffinland currently has community consultations underway as part of a Nunavut Impact Review Board process for two railways that the company proposes building to expand Mary River output.

Among Nunavut’s other promising projects are Sabina Gold and Silver’s (TSX:SBB) Back River gold project, which has received all major permits since reaching feasibility in 2015, and De Beers’ Chidliak project, subject of the giant’s buyout of Peregrine Diamonds last year.

Read more about the Royal Canadian Mint.

Lucara Diamond CEO Eira Thomas comments after unearthing another big, although possibly low-value, rock in Botswana

May 28th, 2019

…Read more

Margaret Lake Diamonds/Arctic Star Exploration move Lac de Gras project to drill-ready status

May 6th, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 6, 2019

Three seasons of state-of-the-art techniques have a Northwest Territories diamond project ready for the rig. The Diagras joint venture of Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA and Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD has now undergone geophysical strategies that weren’t used by previous operators but proved successful at Kennady Diamonds’ (TSXV:KDI) Kennady North, another project in the prolific Lac de Gras diamond field. With a permit already in hand, the JV has drilling planned for spring 2020.

Margaret Lake Diamonds Arctic Star Exploration move Lac de Gras project to drill-ready status

Margaret Lake holds the majority share of the 60/40 JV and acts as project operator.

Analysis of ground gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic surveys found compelling targets among 23 known kimberlites on the 22,595-hectare property. Among the examples are Black Spruce, where three distinct signatures from magnetic, gravity and EM data might represent different phases of the same kimberlite complex that could host different diamond grades and populations.

Jack Pine, one of Lac de Gras’ largest kimberlite complexes, revealed “a new kimberlite-like geophysical expression believed to have not yet been evaluated by drilling according to available public domain records,” the companies stated. Previous drilling at Jack Pine showed it’s “significantly diamond-bearing.”

The Suzanne kimberlite shows gravity and EM anomalies that likely weren’t adequately tested by a previous operator’s drill hole, therefore warranting further drilling.

Surveys over the HL02 kimberlite suggest “an untested gravity and EM target that breaks a diabase dyke,” the JV explained. “This is a classic compelling kimberlite drill target.”

EM anomalies at the Kong and Penelope kimberlites could represent untested kimberlites or kimberlite phases. Several other known kimberlites have yet to undergo modern geophysics, but remain open for surveys while next year’s drilling takes place.

Margaret Lake also has drilling planned for its recently optioned Kiyuk Lake gold property in Nunavut, just north of the Manitoba border. With analysis of detailed ground geophysics underway, the company plans a 5,000-metre program focusing largely on the property’s Rusty zone. Some historic, non-43-101 results from 2017 showed 26.48 g/t gold over 8 metres, 1.16 g/t over 38 metres, and 1.82 g/t over 122 metres. Margaret Lake may earn up to 80% of the 59,000-hectare property.

The company also holds a 100% interest in the eponymous Margaret Lake property, another Lac de Gras diamond project.

This diamond’s huge, but is it worth much?

April 25th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 25, 2019

Thanks partly to new processing gear that’s less likely to break up the stones, Lucara Diamond TSX:LUC keeps pulling record-setting rocks out of its Karowe mine in Botswana. Now the company might have beat its previous record with a 1,758-carat diamond that would be the second-largest of gem quality ever found—if it’s of gem quality.

This diamond’s huge, but is it gem quality?

“Domains of high-quality white gem” may lurk within
Karowe’s largest recovered rock. (Photo: Lucara Diamond)

It’s “been characterized as near gem of variable quality, including domains of high-quality white gem,” Lucara explains. “Further detailed analysis is ongoing.”

The all-time record for gem-quality rough remains the 3,106-carat Cullinan, a 1905 discovery in South Africa that was cut and polished into the 530.2-carat Great Star of Africa in Queen Elizabeth II’s sceptre and produced eight other gems for Britain’s Crown Jewels. Tentatively holding second place is Lucara’s 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona, which earlier this month hit the market as a 302.37-carat jewel with 66 smaller stones.

The company expects further fantastic finds, thanks to an x-ray transmission (XRT) recovery circuit commissioned in 2015 that strives to keep large stones intact. Since then Lucara produced 12 diamonds surpassing 300 carats, with the new find and the Lesedi La Rona exceeding 1,000 carats, out of total production approximating 1.4 million carats. Half of the 12 300-plus-carat rocks were gem quality, Lucara stated.

XRT notwithstanding, recovery might have separated Lesedi La Rona from a stone originally weighing in at 2,774 carats. That possibility was reported by the Gemological Institute of America last year after analysis of the 1,109-carat piece, a 373.72-carat fragment that Lucara sold separately, the 812-carat Constellation and three others weighing 374, 296 and 183 carats. The GIA’s analysis found “compelling evidence” that all five “likely originated from the same rough, with a combined weight of at least 2,774 carats.” Geological as well as recovery processes could be blamed for the break-up, Lucara responded at the time.

But the source of those recoveries should improve too “as we mine deeper in the ore body and gain access to the geologically favourable EM/PK(S) unit, the source of both of our record-breaking, plus-1,000-carat diamonds,” said CEO Eira Thomas.

See an infographic: Six of the world’s most famous diamonds.

Read about Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond.

Read Resource Clips visits the diamond industry in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Graff Diamonds polishes its image with polished Lesedi La Rona

April 11th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 11, 2019

The company loves to proclaim its pre-eminent technology and expertise, but for this achievement the big boss overruled all that. Despite an initial analysis that said it couldn’t be done, Laurence Graff insisted on a 300-plus-carat polished jewel out of a 1,109-carat rough. Along with 66 smaller stones, that’s what he got. At 302.37 carats the Graff Lesedi La Rona “is the largest, highest-colour, highest-clarity diamond ever certified by the GIA, and the world’s largest square emerald cut diamond,” the company announced.

On paying $53 million in 2017 for the product of Lucara Diamond’s (TSX:LUC) Karowe mine in Botswana, Graff attributed unusual powers to the piece. “The stone will tell us its story,” he said. “It will dictate how it wants to be cut and we will take the utmost care to respect its exceptional properties.”

Graff Diamonds polishes its image with polished Lesedi La Rona

The Graff Lesedi La Rona:
As for the price, pikers need not inquire.
(Photo: Graff Diamonds)

In the end, it was Graff himself who did the dictating, at least where finished weight was concerned. By doing so, he overruled conclusions determined through a custom-built scanner with new imaging software specifically acquired to assess the stone, the largest gem-quality diamond found in a century. But Graff’s new technology enabled staff to chart the stone’s imperfections and plan the largest, highest-clarity jewels possible.

A master craftsman, also a classically trained musician, “used his highly attuned musician’s ear to listen for the smooth progression of the laser” as he cut the first incisions. A team of gemologists and master polishers toiled for over 18 months to produce this “masterpiece of technical audacity and diamond artistry.”

Having lost over two-thirds of the rough’s weight, cutting and polishing produced 66 additional diamonds, ranging from less than one carat to more than 26 carats.

Among gem-quality rough diamonds, Lesedi La Rona ranked second only to the 3,106.75-carat Cullinan diamond, a 1905 discovery from South Africa. That stone produced nine polished gems, eight of them set into Britain’s Crown jewels. The ninth, considered the world’s largest top-quality polished diamond, is the 530.2-carat Great Star of Africa in Queen Elizabeth II’s sceptre.

The Cullinan mine currently operates under Petra Diamonds, which two weeks ago uncovered a 425.1-carat gem-quality diamond at the site.

Graff Diamonds credits itself with having “cut and polished the majority of the 20 largest diamonds discovered this century.” One that Graff missed, however, was the Lesotho Legend, a 910-carat 2018 discovery from Gem Diamonds’ Letseng mine in Lesotho and the fifth-largest gem-quality rough on record. Two months later Antwerp-based Samir Gems bought the stone for $40 million.

In 2017 Graff paid Lucara $17.5 million for a 373.72-carat fragment that broke off of Lesedi La Rona during mine recovery.

But if Graff’s publicist neglected to add “mystery” to Lesedi La Rona’s ineffable polished qualities, that word would apply to the price. The amount wasn’t disclosed.

See an infographic: Six of the world’s most famous diamonds.

Read about Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond.

Read Resource Clips visits the diamond industry in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Margaret Lake Diamonds/Arctic Star Exploration begin new program on NWT diamond project

March 25th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 25, 2019

State-of-the-art exploration techniques will target Lac de Gras diamonds as a new campaign begins on the Diagras joint venture. Detailed ground gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic geophysics will test areas around kimberlites discovered through historic work and around airborne geophysical anomalies that suggest potential kimberlites.

Margaret Lake Diamonds Arctic Star Exploration begin new program on NWT diamond project

Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA and Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD hold 60% and 40% respectively of the JV. Margaret Lake acts as project operator on the 22,595-hectare property in the diamondiferous Northwest Territories region.

The current exploration strategy uses techniques that weren’t used in historic work but proved successful at Kennady Diamonds’ (TSXV:KDI) Kennady North project. At Diagras, the strategy has located drill-worthy anomalies proximal to the property’s previously discovered Black Spruce, Jack Pine and Suzanne kimberlites. Historic drilling has found diamonds at Jack Pine.

Part of the program’s funding comes from the NWT’s Mining Incentive Program.

Last month Margaret Lake announced an imminent campaign on its newly optioned Kiyuk Lake gold project, a 59,000-hectare property north of the Manitoba border in Nunavut. Pending receipt of permits, the company plans 5,000 metres of spring drilling in a program that would also include ground magnetics. Historic drilling brought impressive near-surface results.

Back in the NWT, the company also holds the Margaret Lake diamond project.

Visual Capitalist: A brief history of jewelry through the ages

March 21st, 2019

by Iman Ghosh | posted with permission of Visual Capitalist

A brief history of jewelry through the ages

 

Jewelry has been an integral aspect of human civilization for centuries, but it was the discovery and subsequent spread of precious metals and gemstones that really changed the game.

In this infographic from Menē TSXV:MENE, we visualize how the uses and symbolism of jewelry have evolved across time and space to become the industry we’re familiar with today.

Antique, yet ageless

There isn’t a single corner of the world that’s untouched by the influence of jewelry.

Ancient Egypt
Gold accompanied the affluent into the afterlife—the famous 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb was filled to the brim with gold jewelry.

Ancient Greece and Rome
Jewelry was used practically and as a protection against evil. The gold olive wreath design was highly popular during this time.

Mesopotamia
Both men and women in the Sumer civilization wore intricate pieces of jewelry, incorporating bright gems like agate, jasper or lapis lazuli.

Meso-America
The aristocracy in Aztec culture wore gold jewelry with gemstones to demonstrate rank. The jewelry also doubled up as godly sacrifices.

Ancient India
The Mughal Empire introduced the combination of gemstones with gold and silver. Today pure gold jewelry is often gifted to new brides for financial security.

Ancient China
Both rich and poor wore jade jewelry for its durable and protective properties. Pure gold jewelry is making a fashion comeback, doubling as a form of investment.

Modern jewelry: At a crossroads

Today jewelry is at once the very same and vastly different from what it used to be.

The industry is worth upwards of $348 billion per year and it’s not hard to see why. As an alternative asset, jewelry has grown 138% in value over the last decade—only outperformed by classic cars, rare coins and fine wine.

However, perceptions of jewelry vastly differ. It’s not a stretch to say that Western jewelry buyers are enamoured with diamonds, given their enduring association with special occasions—but it’s interesting to note how that ideal was fabricated.

The invention of diamonds

The De Beers Group is well known for making diamonds great again. In the early 1900s, the company had already monopolized the diamond trade and stabilized the market, but they faced the challenge of marketing diamonds to consumers at all income levels.

The average American considered diamonds an extravagance, preferring to spend money on cars and appliances instead. The concept of engagement rings existed but they weren’t widely adopted. The #1 slogan of the century—“A Diamond is Forever”— transformed all that.

Even as more companies like Tiffany and Cartier entered the playing field, De Beers had set a successful industry standard. But there’s a catch—diamonds are actually:

  • Not all that rare in nature

  • Intrinsically low in value

  • Easily replicated in a lab

  • Decreasing in sales

Despite these caveats, the popularity of diamonds illustrates how Western consumers do not approach jewelry in the same way as Eastern economies, where its function as a store of wealth persists.

The Eastern gold standard

In Eastern economies, jewelry often takes the form of pure gold. The reasons behind this difference are surprisingly pragmatic: gold is considered a secure and innate store of wealth that maintains its purchasing value over decades, allowing families to pass wealth from generation to generation.

The rich history of the precious metal has made it a sought-after commodity for centuries, and China and India drive more than half of global gold jewelry demand every year:

Year Share of demand (India + China) Total global jewelry demand (tonnes)
2014 57% 2,510 tonnes
2015 58% 2,426 tonnes
2016 55% 2,068 tonnes
2017 57% 2,201 tonnes
2018 58% 2,200 tonnes

Source: Gold Hub. Values have been rounded up to the nearest tonne.

Why are Eastern cultures so attracted to the properties of pure gold?

Part 2 of this series will show why gold is the world’s most incredible metal and why it’s coveted by billions of people.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Margaret Lake moves fast on Nunavut gold acquisition

February 21st, 2019

by Greg Klein | February 21, 2019

Margaret Lake moves fast on Nunavut gold acquisition

Accustomed to working in Arctic conditions, Margaret Lake adds a Nunavut property to its NWT portfolio.

 

With an aggressive winter/spring campaign planned for a newly acquired project, Margaret Lake Diamonds TSXV:DIA turns its attention to Nunavut gold. The company announced its Kiyuk Lake option just last week, allowing up to an 80% interest in the 59,000-hectare property north of the Manitoba border. Now, assuming receipt of land and water use permits, Margaret Lake intends to start building an exploration camp next month in preparation for up to 5,000 metres of spring drilling. The agenda also includes ground magnetics.

Margaret Lake moves fast on Nunavut gold acquisition

Past drilling brought impressive near-surface intercepts
and identified a 13-kilometre strike open in all directions.
(Photo: Cache Exploration)

Drilling will target the Rusty zone, where some historic, non-43-101 results from a previous operator in 2017 brought the following near-surface results:

  • 26.48 g/t gold over 8 metres, starting at 108 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 92.76 g/t over 2 metres)

  • 1.16 g/t over 38 metres, starting at 58 metres
  • (including 3.98 g/t over 8 metres)

  • 1.82 g/t over 122 metres, starting at 188 metres
  • (including 3.34 g/t over 15 metres)

Additionally, a 2013 intercept showed:

  • 1.6 g/t over 249 metres, starting at 8.2 metres

Further 2017 work at the property’s Gold Point/East Gold Point zone yielded the following results:

  • 1.46 g/t gold over 64 metres, starting at 35 metres
  • (including 3.12 g/t over 14 metres)

  • 6.51 g/t over 10 metres, starting at 248 metres

True widths weren’t available.

Over 13,000 metres of historic work identified four mineralized zones as well as five more areas that have yet to be drilled. The property features a 13-kilometre strike that remains open in all directions, the company stated.

Subject to exchange approval, an initial 50% Margaret Lake stake in Kiyuk Lake would require the company to issue five million shares, buy three million of the vendor’s shares for $150,000, pay $100,000 within a year and spend $3 million within three years. An additional 30% would cost $5 million.

In the Northwest Territories, the company also holds the eponymous Margaret Lake diamond project and the majority interest in a 60/40 JV with Arctic Star Exploration TSXV:ADD on the Diagras diamond property.

Old Testament turf begets newly identified mineral

January 7th, 2019

by Greg Klein | January 7, 2019

Northern Israel’s Mount Carmel is known for a more miraculous event, but that’s where a company exploring Biblical lands for material riches has made a novel discovery. On January 7 London-listed Shefa Yamim announced a new mineral named carmeltazite won official recognition from the International Mineralogical Association.

Old Testament turf begets newly identified mineral

Imperfections within the unique Carmel
sapphire can hold a newly discovered mineral.

The new entity came to light within the company’s trademarked Carmel sapphire. Made up of titanium, aluminum and zirconium, carmeltazite “is part of the remarkable mineral assemblage” found as tiny inclusions or impurities in the gemstone, the company stated. While not exactly the most compact abbreviation, carmeltazite can be denoted as ZrAl2Ti4O11.

Shefa Yamim also claims distinction for the Carmel sapphire itself, described as “a newly discovered type of corundum… unlike any other sapphire found in the world.” Typically black, blue-to-green or orange-brown in colour, it has so far manifested its largest size at 33.3 carats. That stone came from an area proximal to the River Kishon, associated with Old Testament stories of the Canaanites’ defeat.

Nearby Mount Carmel gained fame when a miraculous fire helped the prophet Elijah upstage Ahab and the idolatrous worshippers of Baal. Shefa Yamim’s exploration focuses on the mountain’s volcanic sources and the river’s alluvial prospects. The company expects to begin trial mining at its Kishon Mid-Reach project this year, targeting diamonds, rubies, moissanite and hibonite, in addition to its proprietary sapphire.

While the Carmel stone has yet to prove itself among buyers of bling, other sapphires have prompted pecuniary appreciation. A late November Christie’s auction achieved its maximum pre-sale estimate of $15 million for a necklace comprised of 21 Kashmir sapphires that outshone the accompanying 23 cushion-shaped diamonds. Originating in a mine that closed in 1887, the exceptionally rare sapphires were collected over a period of more than 100 years prior to the necklace’s creation.

As for rubies, the gems “have seen a more-than-fourfold price increase per carat in the past four years, with the finest rubies fetching $1 million per carat for the first time, as much as top-tier diamonds,” Bloomberg reported in November.

Buying rubies a decade ago would be “like someone who bought Google stock in Year 3 versus buying it now,” Seth Holehouse of the Fortuna auction house told the news agency. Chinese demand has helped push prices, especially for red rubies and other gems in red.

Driven largely by previous ownership, a pearl and diamond pendant that once belonged to Marie Antoinette sold for $36.16 million at a November Sotheby’s event. The auctioneer had hoped for a mere $2 million.