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Diamonds: a Diamond Exploration Cycle Checklist

Diamond Play Checklist

For a printable version please download the Diamond Play Checklist PDF - 4 pages 32K.

Key Milestones And Success Probability Table for the Diamond Exploration Cycle

Project Status
(Milestone Reached - Followup Work)
Theoretical Project Value (At $2B Upv) Leverage Odds Chance
Time Frame Arctic Time Frame Non-Arctic
M0: Grassroots Land Position - Generating Targets $10-20M 100-200 99-199:1 0.5-1% 1 Year 6 Mths
M1:Targets -Drilling For Kimberlite $20-50M 40-100 39-99:1 1-2.5% 6 Mths 3 Mths
M2:Kimberlite-Testing For Diamonds $50-100M 20-40 19-39:1 2.5-5% 6 Mths 3 Mths
M3:Diamondiferous Kimberlite - Mini-Bulk Sample Best Ones For Grade $100-200M 10-20 9-19:1 5-10% 1 Year 6 Mths
M4:Diamond Grade - Bulk Sampling Best Ones For Commercial Value $200-500M 4-10 3-9:1 10-25% 1 Year 6 Mths
M5: Grade & Value - Prefeasibility Study To Determine Economics $500-1,000M 2-4 1-3:1 25-50% 6 Mths 6 Mths
M6:Economic Pipe - Permitting & Final Feasibility Study $1-2B 1-2 0-1:1 50-100% 18 Mths 1 Year
M7:Mine Approval - Construction Leading To Production $2B 1 0:1 100% 2 Years 1 Year
M8:Production - What Next?            

Milestone #0 - Is The Land Position Prospective?

Milestone #0 Checklist Best Answer Implications Of Answer
Regional Potential    
Is Property On A Craton? Yes Potential Very Low If Not
Is Craton Of Archean Age? Yes Preferable, But Maybe Not Necessary
Was There A Major Thermal Event? No Diamond Stability Field Intact
Is The Craton Exposed At Surface? Yes Maximum Range Of Pipe Age
If A Platform, What Is The Age Of The Surface Strata? Variable Limits Age Of Accessible Pipes
Have Kimberlites Been Found On Craton? Yes Craton Has Deep Mantle Roots
Are The Kimberlites Diamondiferous? Yes Populated Diamond Stability Field
Do Alluvial Diamond Deposits Exist? Yes Diamondiferous Kimberlite Present
Does The Craton Host World Class Diamond Pipes? Yes Where There Is One There Will Be More
What Percentage Of The Craton Does The Junior Control? 100% More Is Better
Local Potential    
Is Property On Thickest Part Of Craton? Yes Highest Diamond Potential
Is Property Close To The Craton Margin? No Lowest Diamond Potential
Does Area Drain Into Alluvial Diamond Bearing Rivers? Yes Local Diamond Source
Is Property Within A Regional Kimberlite Indicator Mineral Anomaly? Yes Highest Pipe Potential
Does The Anomaly Include Diamond Indicator Minerals? Yes Highest Diamond Potential
Do The Garnets From Till Have Kelyphitic Rims? Yes Did Not Travel Far From Source
What Is The Average Overburden Thickness? Variable Shallower Is Better
Are There Any Nearby Regional Structural Features? Yes Best Kimberlite Cluster Potential

Milestone #1 - Generating Kimberlite Targets

Milestone #1 Checklist Best Answer Implications Of Answer
Is Target Within An Indicator Mineral Train? Yes Kimberlite Source Nearby
Is The Target At The Head Of A Train Or Dispersion Fan? Yes Kimberlite Pinpointed
Is The Glacial History Well Understood? Yes Greater Confidence For Inferred Head
Does The Train Include Diamond Indicator Minerals? Yes Kimberlite May Be Diamondiferous
Do The Indicator Minerals Include Eclogitic Garnets? Yes May Have Eclogitic Diamonds
Do The Indicator Minerals Include G10 Pyrope Garnets? Yes May Have Peridotitic Diamonds
Does The Target Have A Geophysical Signature? Yes Kimberlite Pinpointed
Is The Geophysical Target Supported By Multiple Data Sets? Yes Reduce Risk Of False Anomalies
How Deep Is The Top Of The Geophysical Anomaly? Variable Shallower Is Better
Does Non-Outcropping Target Coincide With A Topographical Low? Yes Preferentially Weathered Or Gouged Out
Is There A Cluster Of Targets? Yes Kimberlites Occur In Clusters
Are The Targets Close To A Structural Feature? Yes Better For Deep Rooted Intrusives

Milestone #2 - Hitting A Kimberlite Pipe

Milestone #2 Checklist Best Answer Implications
Is It A Group 1 Kimberlite? Yes Best Diamond Potential
Does It Have Crater Facies? Yes Pipe Intact, Greatest Tonnage Potential
Does It Have Diatreme Facies? Yes Good Tonnage At Depth Potential
Does It Have Hypabyssal Facies? Variable Could Be A Dyk Or Root Zonee
How Big Is The Pipe'S Surface Area? Variable Bigger Is Better For Tonnage
How Deep Was Kimberlite Intersected? Variable Deeper Means More Tonnage
How Deep Is The Top Of The Kimberlite? Variable Shallow Is Better For Open-Pitting
How Accessible Is The Kimberlite? Variable Accessibility Dictates Sampling Ease
What Is The Tonnage Limit For The Kimberlite? Variable Bigger Is Better

Tonnage Estimates For Craters And Diatremes

Surface Area Crater Depth (m) Diatreme Depth (m)
Ha Acres Diameter 100 200 300 100 200 300
1 2.5 113 1,675,000 3,350,000 5,025,000 2,500,000 5,000,000 7,500,000
2 4.9 160 3,350,000 6,700,000 10,050,000 5,000,000 10,000,000 15,000,000
5 12.4 252 8,375,000 16,750,000 25,125,000 12,500,000 25,000,000 37,500,000
10 24.7 357 16,750,000 33,500,000 50,250,000 25,000,000 50,000,000 75,000,000
20 49.4 505 33,500,000 67,000,000 100,500,000 50,000,000 100,000,000 150,000,000
30 74.1 618 50,250,000 100,500,000 150,750,000 75,000,000 150,000,000 225,000,000
50 123.5 798 83,750,000 167,500,000 251,250,000 125,000,000 250,000,000 375,000,000
100 247.0 1128 167,500,000 335,000,000 502,500,000 250,000,000 500,000,000 750,000,000

Use This Table To Estimate A Circular Pipe'S Size Potential. Note That The Crater Numbers Assume Angled Walls While The Diatreme Assumes A Cylindrical Shape. If You Know The Diameter (Metres) Of A Circular Target, Calculate The Hectare Area As Follows: 0.8 X Diameter Squared Divided By 10000, Or Use The Diameter Column In The Table.

Milestone #3 - Demonstrating Diamond Content

Milestone #3 Checklist Best Answer Implications
Is The Pipe Diamondiferous? Yes Necessary Condition
What Is The Macro Reporting Standard? Variable Sieve Based Square Mesh Sizes Best
Are Micro Diamond Counts Based Only On Longest Dimension? No If Yes, Management Ignorant Or Flaky
Does Company Divide Micro Weight By Sample Weight To Get Grade? No If Yes, Mgmt Ignorant About Diamonds
Is Sample Large Enough To Be Meaningful? >100 Kg Best Is 300 Kg Or More
Are There Counts For 0.1-0.5, 0.5-1.0 & >1.0 Mm Sieve Ranges? Yes Can Compare Size Curve To Others
Has Petrographic Work Been Done On Sample Interval? Yes Need To Be Aware Of Facies And Phases
Is There Evidence Of Facies Or Magmatic Phase Differences? No If Yes Micro Diamond Data Distorted
How Does Size Distribution Curve Look? Shallow Compare With Hearne Or Snap Lake
What Percentage Of Macros Are Fragments? 0% Less Distortion Of Size Profile
Have Any Individual Stones Been Identified? Yes Shows Good Size Profile
What Is The Weight Of The Larger Stones? Variable Presence Of Big Stones Is Good
What Is The Weight Of The 1 Mm Plus Fraction? Variable The More The Better
Are Many Of The Micro Diamonds Coloured? No Yes Could Mean Poor Quality Macros
What Is The Breakdown Of Crystal Types? Variable Prefer Majority Octahedra
Is There Evidence Of Resorption? No No Loss Of Diamond Weight

Milestone #4 - Getting A Grade By Mini-Bulk Sample

Milestone #4 Checklist Best Answer Implications
What Was The Screen Size Used To Recover Diamonds? 1.5 Mm Stones Below That Size Aren'T Commercial
What Was The Largest Stone Recovered? Variable Bigger Is Better
Was The Pipe Geometry Defined By Delineation Drilling? Yes Can Estimate Resource Tonnage
Has The Internal Geometry Been Defined? Yes Grade And Value Of Geologic Units Varies
Was There Grade Variation Between Sample Locations? No Want Uniform Diamond Distribution
What Was The Crystal Type Breakdown? 100% Octahedrons Are Best
Is The Parcel Large Enough For Valuation? Yes Give Early Value Indication
What Does The Stone Size Distribution Profile Look Like? Variable Gradual Size Frequency Decline Desired
How Many Stones Were Recovered? Variable Gives Average Stone Size
What Percentage Of Stones Were Clear & Colourless? 100% Indicates Gem Quality
What Percentage Of Weight Was Clear & Colourless? 100% Can Reveal Quality-Size Skewing

Square Mesh Micro Diamond Size Distributions

  Bulk Grade Core Kg <0.5 Mm #/1000 Kg .5-1.0 Mm #/1000 Kg >1.0 Mm #/1000 Kg
Winspear Snap Lake 1.78 Ct/T 1,201 3,730 3,106 815 679 44 36.6
Mpv Tuzo 2.20 Ct/T 278 642 2,309 40 144 15 54.0
Mpv Hearne 1.71 Ct/T 300 680 2,267 62 207 21 70.0
Mpv 5034 1.64 Ct/T 548 2,335 4,261 92 168 35 63.9
Mpv Tesla 0.35 Ct/T 245 174 710 14 57 0 0.0

Plot The Normalized Counts Against Size Range Using A Log Scale For The Counts. The Higher The Curve And The Shallower The Slope, The Better. Plot New Square Mesh Micro-Diamond Results And Compare To The Above To Get A Feel For Grade Potential. Do Not Use Longest Dimension Based Counts - Their Correlation With Macro Grade Is Random.

Milestone #5 - Getting A Grade And Value

Milestone #5 Checklist Best Answer Implications
What Is The Grade Of The Pipe? Variable Higher Is Better
Are There Zones With Major Grade Differences? Variable High Grade Could Help With Payback
What Is The Total Value Of The Diamond Parcel? Variable Higher Is Better
If A Modeled Value Was Given, What Is The Error Margin? <10% Beware Of Big Error Margins
Does The Size And Spacing Of Bulk Sample Reflect Pipe Size? Yes Larger Pipes Require Bigger Samples
Is The Value Skewed By A Few Exceptional Stones? No Isolated Stones Statistically Irrelevant
What Is The Value Percentage Attributable To 0.75+ Ct Stones? 100% Big, Quality Stones Always In Demand
Is The Value Distributed Evenly Over The Size Spectrum? Variable All Stone Sizes Are Contributing
What Is The Quality-Size Profile Of The Pipe? Variable Want To See Potential For Big Stones
Is There A Deterioration Of Quality With Increasing Size? No Gem Quality % Must Be Stable

Milestone #6 & #7- Completing A Pre-Feasibility Study And Securing A Development Permit

Milestones #6-7 Checklist Best Answer Implications
Is The Junior Carried From Here Onward? Yes No Financing Dilution Risk
What Pipes Are Candidates For Production? Variable  
How Many Need To Be Mined Simultaneously? One Less Permitting Hassle
What Will Be The Production Rate Of The Milling Facility? Variable  
Will The Operation Be Underground Or Open-Pit Mining? Open-Pit Lower Cost
How High Is The Stripping Ratio? Low Beware Of Deep Overburden
What Will Be The Operating Cost? Variable  
What Will Be The Capital Cost? Variable Higher In Remote, Sensitive Settings
Has A Project Description Been Filed? Yes Permitting Underway
Are There Any Sticky Environmental Obstacles? No  
Is The Area Subject To Native Land Claims? No  
Is There A Title Risk? No  
Is Approval Likely And How Long To Get It? Yes Less Than 18 Months Is Good

Milestone #8 - Production Startup

Milestone #8 Checklist Best Answer Implications
Does The Junior Receive Diamond Production In Kind? Yes Can Capture Source Premium
Is A Diamond Marketing Deal In Place? Yes  
Is There Potential For A Source Branding Premium? Yes Canadian Diamonds Preferred
How Does Production Grade And Value Compare With Projections? +100%  
Is The Theft Security System Reliable? Yes  
How Long Before Payback? Soon  
What Next?    

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