Star Diamond confirms Type IIa high value diamonds at Orion North, Taurus kimberlites

Star Diamond has completed a study into the abundance of Type IIa diamonds in parcels recovered from the Early Joli Fou geological units at the Orion North (K120, K147 and K148) and Taurus kimberlites (K118, K122 and K150).

The pipes are located within the Fort a la Corne diamond district of central Saskatchewan, including the Star–Orion South diamond project, on properties held in a joint venture with Rio Tinto Exploration Canada.

These diamond parcels were recovered by Star Diamond between 2006 and 2008 from 120-cm diameter drilling programs. The latest study confirms that unusually high proportions of Type IIa diamonds are present in both the Orion North and Taurus kimberlites.

Of particular note is the high proportion of Type IIa diamonds in the Orion North 147-148 EJF (52%), of which 66% of the 24 stones, 0.66 carats and above are Type IIa. The largest Type IIa diamond identified was a 6.88-carat stone from Orion North (K147-K148 EJF).

Senior technical advisor George Read said that the Type IIa diamonds at Orion North and Taurus are top white in colour, Type IIa diamonds are rare and account for less than 2% of all natural rough diamonds mined from kimberlites. Many high-value, top colour, large specials (greater than 10.8 carats) are Type IIa diamonds, which include all 10 of the largest known rough diamonds recovered worldwide.

The study also confirms and augments an earlier study of Type IIa diamonds being present in the Fort a la Corne kimberlites with Star (26.5%) and Orion South (12.5%).

A target for further exploration completed by Star Diamond in 2014 estimated that between 881 million and 1.04 billion tonnes of the major EJF units, containing between 46 and 79 million carats, occur within the Orion North and Taurus kimberlite clusters.

Orion North (K147, K148 and K220) alone is estimated to contain between 340 million and 410 million tonnes of EJF kimberlite with an estimated range of grade of 2.75 to 8.37 carats per hundred tonnes.


POZ Minerals to Bid for Ellendale Mine

POZ Blina yellow diamonds

Only a year ago, very few in the diamond industry would have heard of POZ Minerals. But the company, better known as a phosphates producer, is trying to build a portfolio of projects in Western Australia that could make it a niche supplier of fancy-yellow diamonds.

POZ announced Tuesday that it was bidding for the Ellendale mine after the state government’s call for investors in the asset last week. While POZ already owns the adjacent Blina mine, it hopes to combine the two assets and solidify its position in the fancy-yellow category, Jim Richards, POZ chairman, explained in an interview with Rapaport News Monday.

Owning both “would result in economies of scale and efficiencies in exploration and development and would be a major step towards building a branded diamond-mining company producing the fancy yellows for which Blina and Ellendale are justifiably famous,” the company added in a statement it released Tuesday.

Richards believes the company is a front-runner in the Ellendale bid, given that it already has four mining leases at Blina and since POZ is the only miner in the area with such a license. It also already has a deal with Bunuba Group, the native titleholder for both the Blina and Ellendale land.

Ellendale comes with some history, however, after former owner Kimberley Diamonds ran up bills and a list of creditors that forced it to close the mine in 2015. That, despite a lucrative supply agreement with luxury jewelry Tiffany & Co. for its fancy-yellow diamonds.

Richards is hoping to reestablish that partnership and forge new ones with other retailers. Ellendale’s yellows have a consistency few other mines can achieve, he explains. Meanwhile, POZ is in talks with retailers in Australia and abroad for similar offtake agreements and branding of yellow diamonds from the Blina mine.

POZ is still in a testing phase at Blina and is looking for investors, or to partner with “an experienced mining company,” before production can proceed. Testing shows that fancy yellows account for about 7% of Blina’s production, while white stones make up 18%, 46% are off-white diamonds, and 29% brown. Of those, 93% are gem content or near-gem content, Richards noted.

A parcel of stones from the mine was valued at an average price of $389 per carat, with the fancy-yellow diamonds estimated at approximately $3,391 per carat.

Image: Blina mine yellow diamonds. Credit: POZ Minerals