De Beers takes next step in hunt for Sask diamonds

It was De Beer’s work in Fort a la Corne that first got me into the resource sector in 2000.  They are back again making waves.  Perhaps they are also once again the sign of economic boom to come?  Previous story on this development here.

Eric

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  • 20 Aug 2016
  • The StarPhoenix
  • ALEX MACPHERSON

De Beers takes next step in hunt for Sask diamonds

The world’s largest diamond mining company is expected to launch the next phase of its search for the precious stones in Northern Saskatchewan later this month.

After collecting samples and completing a low-level airborne survey, De Beers Canada Inc. will begin drilling “targets” on the 43,000-acre Northwest Athabasca Kimberlite Project it optioned from CanAlaska Uranium Ltd. earlier this year.

“I think it ticks the boxes for kimberlites, and if you’ve got kimberlites, you should be looking at them for diamonds,” said CanAlaska president and CEO Peter Dasler, referring to the igneous rock formation named for Kimberly, South Africa.

The Vancouver-based uranium exploration company staked property 750 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon in 2012, after identifying 75 possible kimberlite formations in the 2011 Saskatchewan Geological Survey.

De Beers Canada, which is part of the De Beers Group of Companies, optioned the site — which is just north of the decommissioned Cluff Lake uranium mine — in May, and began exploring it about a month later.

Under the agreement, the diamond giant can invest up to $20.4 million in four stages over seven years. If it completes all four stages, it could earn a 90 per cent stake in the property.

“We look forward to executing the upcoming drill program … as our team works through the fall and into the winter season to obtain the next level of information on these very interesting targets,” De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter said in a statement.

De Beers Canada is expected to finish drilling targets on land by October, while those located beneath lakes and in swamps will be drilled over the winter months, according to a news release.

In a news release the companies said the “magnetic anomalies” identified by De Beers’ low-level airborne survey are up to 25 acres in size, and are “comparable to many of Canada’s diamond deposits.”

Dasler said while the odds of finding a kimberlite pipe containing “economic” diamonds are slim — between one in 100 and one in 1,000 — De Beers Canada is serious about the project, and the number of targets on the property is encouraging.

“The first hurdle (is) how many of these are kimberlites,” he said. “I think you’re going to see a number of drill holes — they won’t have to be very deep drill holes — to establish whether they’re kimberlites.”

De Beers Canada is not the only company interested in CanAlaska’s claims. Earlier this month, the Vancouver-based diamond exploration firm Canterra Minerals Corp. signed a deal with CanAlaska to explore six targets in Saskatchewan.

Under the agreement, Canterra can acquire a stake of up to 70 per cent in the West Carswell property — which is 20 kilometres southwest of the area De Beers is exploring — by paying CanAlaska up to $200,000 and fulfilling work and share commitments.

“CanAlaska has … identified many new targets within northwestern Saskatchewan, a region we believe has the potential to host a new Canadian kimberlite field,” Canterra president and CEO Randy Turner said in a statement.

 

About prosperitysaskatchewan

Consultant on Saskatchewan's natural resources.

Posted on August 22, 2016, in economic impact. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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