North Arrow Minerals exploring for diamonds in Saskatchewan

by Peter Caulfield
A helicopter picking up till samples.

The challenging task of picking up till samples from North Arrow Minerals' sampling program at the Pikoo diamond project in east-central Saskatchewan — Photo courtesy Colin Bateman, North Arrow Minerals

Although it has been more than 20 years since diamonds have been discovered in Saskatchewan, optimistic companies in the mining industry are hopeful they can create a viable diamond-mining industry in the province.

For example, North Arrow Minerals Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia,  recently announced the completion of the June 2014 till sampling program at the Pikoo diamond project in east-central Saskatchewan. A total of 441 till samples were collected during the four-week program, which followed up on the 2013 discovery of diamond-bearing kimberlite in the 33,000-hectare property.

North Arrow spokesman Nick Thomas said the discovery of kimberlites was the first in the area.

“We hope it will lead to more discoveries,” Thomas said.

Processing of the samples is underway and will continue through the summer.  Results of the program will be used to evaluate potential kimberlite targets. They will also help to test the eastern portion of the property, where there are many positive till samples but insufficient sample density to define individual kimberlite indicator mineral trains. Follow-up exploration, including drilling, is tentatively planned for fall 2014 and winter/spring 2015.

A pile of white sample bags in the forground, the backround is a little blurred and shows a man carrying a bag on his shoulder towards the pile.

Another week's haul of sample bags from North Arrow Minerals' sampling program. The till samples are tested for kimberlite indicator minerals or “KIMs” – minerals like pyrope garnets, which are very commonly found in diamond-bearing kimberlites. — Photo courtesy Colin Bateman, North Arrow Minerals

The 2014 Pikoo exploration program is being conducted with Stornoway Diamond Corporation under an 80/20 (North Arrow/Stornoway) participating joint venture arrangement.

The Pikoo claims were staked in 2011 to test the diamond potential of the Sask craton in north-central Saskatchewan.

Initial surficial till sampling identified two distinct kimberlite indicator mineral trains (South Pikoo and North Pikoo), which were drilled in July 2013 in a 10-hole program.

The most significant discovery was PK 150 kimberlite in the South Pikoo area. It  returned 745 diamonds larger than 0.106 millimetre including 23 diamonds larger than 0.85 millimetre from a 209.7-kilogram sample of drill core.

North Arrow Minerals said it is developing a pipeline of quality Canadian diamond projects ranging from greenfields to the advanced stage, most of which have already seen millions of dollars in past exploration expenditures.

Shore Gold Inc. in on a diamond rush

Like North Arrow, Shore Gold Inc. is a Canadian resource company, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, that is focused on exploring and developing the province's diamond resources. The company is currently advancing the FALC-JV joint venture and Star Diamond project in the Fort à la Corne forest in central Saskatchewan.

Kensington Resources Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Shore Gold, holds a 67 per cent ownership position in the FALC-JV project with joint venture partner Newmont Canada FN Holdings ULC holding 33 per cent.
Over 70 kimberlites have been identified, and macro-diamonds have been recovered in 34 kimberlites. Seventy per cent of them are considered gem quality, including a 10.53-carat Light Fancy Yellow and a 45.95-carat stone from Orion South.

The Star Diamond project is located approximately 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. A paved highway, gravel roads, and forestry roads provide year-round access to Shore Gold’s property. The Star Diamond kimberlite is situated in the Fort à la Corne forest. 

The project, which is 100 per cent held by Shore Gold, consists of 23 contiguous mineral dispositions totalling 9,280 hectares in area.

The Fort à la Corne area of Saskatchewan hosts one of the most extensive kimberlite fields in the world. Over 70 kimberlites exist in the Fort à la Corne forest, and over 70 per cent of these have been shown to contain diamonds.

Canadian International Minerals acquires Reindeer River Syndicate

Canadian International Minerals Inc. recently acquired a 100 per cent interest in the Reindeer River Syndicate in the Saskatchewan Pikoo diamond play. The Syndicate acquired 33 claims totalling 67,350 hectares by staking.

The Vancouver-based mining exploration company, which originally held a 25 per cent interest in the syndicate, has entered into a purchase agreement to acquire the remaining 75 per cent interest from the other syndicate holders by paying a total of $50,700 and issuing a total of 3,000,000 common shares.

The announcement follows earlier news that Canadian International had acquired, by staking, a 100 per cent interest in the Bigstone Lake properties in northeastern Saskatchewan. The properties are made up of 22 claims totalling 25,102 hectares. The company has also acquired a 50 per cent interest in the Three Amigos property by contributing 50 per cent of staking costs. The Three Amigos property contains a single claim totalling 4,871 hectares in area and is adjacent to the main block of the Bigstone Lake properties.

Mike Schuss, president and CEO of Canadian International, said the company has had a number of offers for joint ventures. “More news to come in fall 2014,” he said.


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