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More diamonds

Dave Sullivan
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Jun 11/01) - Another kimberlite pipe that may contain diamonds has been found in the North.

The discovery was made 100 kilometres north of Tahera Corp.'s Jericho diamond project in Nunavut by Tahera and partner Kennecott Canada, which is owned by Diavik mine owner Rio Tinto.

The economic potential of any diamonds could be known by July, after testing of sample results sent to Kennecott's Thunder Bay diamond lab.

"An encouraging discovery for sure," Tahera spokesman Grant Ewing said.

If Kennecott spends $25 million on the property, called Rockinghorse, and makes a development decision by 2008, it will have a controlling interest, according to the joint-venture agreement.

Kennecott will spend $2.2 million this year exploring Rockinghorse and a nearby property called Hood River. Tahera's exploration budget for the area is $2.6 million.

The kimberlite pipe's shape was loosely defined by drilling eight holes in a 1400-by-600-metre area. It runs horizontally 10 to 25 metres below the surface.

The find, announced June 5, follows by a day a disappointing report on another kimberlite pipe found in April.

"It showed low diamond grades, so these preliminary results are not encouraging," Ewing said.

That kimberlite pipe is six kilometres west of the Jericho pipe, which Tahera fully owns and plans to mine.

South of Jericho and north of BHP's Ekati mine, Tahera owns large blocks known as the ice claims.

Tahera and BHP are looking into jointly exploring the area, Ewing said.

The claims were part of Tahera's joint venture with Kennecott, but Kennecott pulled out earlier this year, Ewing said.

Tahera also has a small joint venture with Ashton Canada on a NWT property west of the Ekati mine.