On October 3, 2022, Arctic Star Exploration Corp. (TSXV: ADD) announced the results of the geochemical diamond indicator mineral analysis and classification of the core samples taken from the company’s recent Arbutus kimberlite discovery. Indicator minerals are an important factor when first encountering a new kimberlite discovery, such as Arbutus.
The geochemical analysis was conducted by Dr. Chuck Fipke, the man credited with making Canada’s first diamond discovery in 1991 in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories (NWT). This eventually became the iconic Ekati Diamond Mine, which kickstarted Canada’s diamond industry.
Today, Dr. Fipke is considered to be the world’s foremost expert on diamond geochemistry. It was his painstaking search for indicator minerals throughout NWT, though, that eventually led him to the source of the diamonds at Ekati.
Geochemical analysis as a frontline tool
Whenever Fipke found indicator minerals during this period, he would conduct a geochemical analysis of both the indicator minerals and the kimberlite rocks he found. He’d then compare the results with the mineralogical and geochemical signatures of previously discovered kimberlite rocks originating in the region. This led to an ability to follow the indicator mineral and geochemical anomalies related to these rocks, and the gaining of a better understanding of what sample size of glacial sediments would be ideal for indicator mineral and geochemical analysis.
Dr. Fipke has continued to utilize geochemical analysis in all aspects of his subsequent diamond exploration activities. This has helped advance geochemistry techniques and methodologies. Due to modern technological advancements, this science has become an even more powerful exploration tool, with geochemical analysis now considered a routine frontline tool in the diamond exploration toolbox. As such, exploration programs rely heavily on the interpretation of the composition of indicator minerals, which can vary considerably by geographical region.
The work done on the Arbutus kimberlite
On behalf of Arctic Star, Dr. Fipke and his firm, C.F. Mineral Research. Ltd., analyzed and interpreted three small core samples of kimberlite totaling 3 kg, taken from different parts of the Arbutus kimberlite. Fipke’s assessment is that the chemistry is some of the best he has seen when compared to his global database of diamond inclusions. The Arbutus results have a higher percentage of diamond inclusions, and are more abundant by weight of samples, than he has previously encountered.
There are abundant indicators found in a relatively small sample, showing the Arbutus Kimberlite should have excellent diamond potential. Dr. Fipke reports that the kimberlite is multi-phase, with one of the phases having superior chemistry to the others, suggesting that all three samples might originate from differing kimberlite phases within the same kimberlite. Of important significance for potential large diamonds, all three samples contain Lherzolite sources of diamond, in which large diamonds are usually expected, with or without small diamonds. A previous analysis of 143.05 kg of core taken from two holes drilled into the Arbutus kimberlite contained 61 diamonds.
Arctic Star is very encouraged by the recent geochemical analysis results, confirming that the Arbutus kimberlite is diamond-bearing, with large stones recovered from a small-size sample. It therefore warrants further drilling in 2023 to collect larger diamond samples. The company also plans to drill the Finlay Kimberlite to the south of Arbutus, which was discovered in the 1990s. No data from this exploration was ever made public.
Anxiously awaiting results from the Sequoia kimberlite
While the Arbutus geochemical analysis was welcome news, Arctic Star is still anticipating that it will soon receive the caustic fusion analysis results from the Sequoia kimberlite, which Arctic Star discovered in 2021. This has the potential to be the largest diamond-bearing formation in the Lac de Gras district, one that eclipses the 1990s discovery of the original kimberlite field that hosts the Ekati and Diavik mines.
If the Sequoia caustic fusion results are as positive as the company believes they could be, the plan is to conduct a large 3000 ton bulk sample in early 2023 of over 1500 carats, by drilling cores of up to one-metre in diameter. This would help determine the distribution of the diamond population and the average price per carat. And it would be an important step towards assessing the potential economic viability of the Sequoia Kimberlite Complex.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Arctic Star Exploration is a client of Canacom Group, the parent company of The Deep Dive. The author has been compensated to cover Arctic Star Exploration on The Deep Dive, with The Deep Dive having full editorial control. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security.