Northern News Services
After an independent appraisal of 11,771 carats of diamonds from the A-154 kimberlite pipe at the mine, the assessed value at the pipe has increased from an original estimate of $33 per carat to $82 per carat.
"We now have a sample that says Diavik is a lot more valuable as an ore body," said Matt Manson, vice president of marketing at Aber Diamond Corporation.
Manson explained that until now the major value of the mine was expected to be the southern kimberlite pipe at the mine.
The northern kimberlite pipe was expected to be lower in resource value, with only the top portion being extracted.
The diamonds were recovered from 19,342 tonnes of kimberlite extracted by mining the low-grade upper geological unit of the A-154 North pipe.
The diamonds have similar characteristics to those recovered in the southern pipe.
Prior to this, the average value on the northern pipe wasn't known "because we hadn't taken a bulk sample of A-154 North, and now that we have one that is big enough, we can now predict those results with confidence," said Manson.
Tom Hoefer, manager of external and internal relations with Diavik, confirmed the find.
"What we did was a bulk sample. We mined that and recovered a very large amount of diamonds, so what that has done is strengthened the value of the diamonds based on a more confident assessment," said Hoefer.
"This value is showing 2.5 time our original assessment," within the A-154 North pipe, said Hoefer.
"A-154 South is the richest pipe in the world in value per tonne and the results of 154 North are indicating a diamond value in a similar range.
The sales of A-154 South were $96 per carat and at $82, A-154 North is in a similar range," said Hoefer.
Whether the new information will result in an extension of operations at the mine is yet to be determined.
"The determination on that would come from revising the mine plan. We work on the mine plan quite often and steady, and now we can put in a better understanding of the resource here," said Hoefer.