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Diamond exploration to return to Paulatuk

Erin Fletcher
Northern News Services

Paulatuk (Mar 01/04) - Paulatuk residents say diamond exploration set to start again this spring is good news for the community.

Diadem Resources formed a joint venture with Darnley Bay Resources in January and will continue the exploration DBR started in the region in the late 1990s.

As part of the partnership, Diadem will be spending $5 million on the work by Dec. 31, 2006.

"At least there's going to be something happening," said Sharon Green, vice-chair for the Paulatuk Community Corporation.

It's been two years since the last exploration ended and the community was starting to wonder if anything would come of it.

Diadem president Paul Carroll and vice-president Rodney Thomas hosted a community meeting in Paulatuk to announce the start of the 2004 exploration program, in February.

More than 40 people -- about 10 per cent of the hamlet's population -- showed up to the meeting.

"We were pleased with the turnout," he said.

As in the past, employment was at the top of people's minds. There won't be a lot of it during the exploration phase, he said.

There may be a few seasonal positions, but the real jobs won't come unless a mine does, he said.

This year the company hopes to complete more surveys and drilling in March and April, followed by mapping, tilling and sampling between July and September.

Darnley Bay is east of Paulatuk and covers eight million acres. There will also be some geophysical survey work done by helicopter, he said.

The helicopter surveys have concerned some hunters, said Green.

More than $14 million has already been spent on exploration and there has been some promising kimberlite finds.

If through sampling, enough high quality diamonds are found to make a mine possible, it will be built. But that could take another 10 years, said Thomas.