Peregrine aims to prove viability of Chidliak next year
“Our goal is to deliver the first diamond mine on Baffin Island”
Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. said Sept 12 that the company will begin a bulk sampling project in early 2012 aimed at testing the commercial viability of its Chidliak diamond project near Iqaluit.
“Our goal is to deliver the first diamond mine on Baffin Island,” Peregrine’s CEO, Eric Friedland, said in a statement announcing the end of the company’s 2011 exploration program at the Chidliak site, located about 120 km north-east of Iqaluit.
In that program, Peregrine finished test drilling on six of seven kimberlites in the area that are deemed to possess economic potential.
At one of them, a 14.41-tonne sample taken from a kimberlite deposit named CH-6 produced a grade of 2.84 carats per tonne, a result the company announced in November 2010.
“If confirmed by bulk sampling, this would be one of the highest diamond grades for any kimberlite in the world,” Peregrine said in its statement.
Another kimberlite, called CH-7, has returned grades of just over one carat per tonne.
And on a kimberlite called CH-31, an 840 kg sample yielded 1.39 carats of commercial quality diamonds, the company said.
To do next year’s bulk sampling program, the company will move large amounts of equipment, fuel and supplies to Iqaluit on the sealift this month.
They’ve also hired the well-known Nuna Logistics firm to provide heavy equipment and logistical help.
Peregrine started exploration work at Chidliak in 2005. Since then, the company has found 59 kimberlite deposits at the site. Kimberlite, usually found in large conical structures called pipes, often contains diamonds.
The project is owned 51 per cent by global mining giant BHP Billiton, but Peregrine continues to operate the exploration program.
In 2011, the company spent $17.7 million on exploration at the site and hired about 35 workers from Iqaluit.