Canada’s Mountain Province Diamonds has recovered the largest gem-quality diamond ever found through a Canadian drill program. The 25.13 ct ‘Tuzo Diamond,’ worth an estimated C$440,000, was recovered at the Gahcho Kué project in the Northwest Territories – one of the largest new diamond mines under development in the world. Gahcho Kué is a joint venture with De Beers Canada.
Tuzo is one of three primary kimberlites at Gahcho Kué, one of the largest new diamond mines under development in the world. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered from a Canadian diamond exploration drill program,” said Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans. “The diamond is a perfect ‘ice crystal’. [This] confirms the potential for the Gahcho Kué kimberlites to host large diamonds.”
“From past years’ exploration at Gahcho Kué, several other large diamonds of gem quality have been recovered; including 9.9, 7, 6.6 and 5.9 ct diamonds from the 5034 kimberlite, and 8.7, 6.4 and 4.9 ct diamonds from the Hearne kimberlite. The presence of coarser diamonds is an important driver of overall diamond value at Gahcho Kué,” said Evans.
On March 19, 2008, the Company announced the successful conclusion of the large-diameter drill program at the Tuzo kimberlite. Concentration of the bulk samples at De Beers’ Grand Prairie facility was completed ahead of schedule in May, 2008. Diamond recovery from the Tuzo bulk sample is currently taking place at De Beers’ GEMDL laboratory in South Africa with recovered diamonds being sent to De Beers’ Diamond Trading Company in London for cleaning and valuation.
The Tuzo bulk sampling program was designed to recover approximately 1,500 ct using two 609-mm large-diameter drill rigs. A total of nine holes were drilled, with seven holes to depths between approximately 100 and 130 m and two holes to depths of about 300 m. A total of some 1,390 m were drilled.