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Discover Abitibi seeks reprieve.

Timmins, Kirkland Lake -- In a region once dominated by prospectors seeking gold, silver and other metals, diamond discoveries are springing up everywhere.

The Discover Abitibi Initiative (DAI) recently released the results of a lamprophyre study, designed to determine the diamond bearing potential of lamprophyres in Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Timiskaming areas.

Forty-five random samples were taken from road cut outcrops, some of which were on Crown land, staked land and patented properties. Of the 45, six samples proved up diamonds, according Robert Calhoun, Discover Abitibi's project manager.

The samples were taken to SGS Lakefield laboratory in Lakefield, Ontario, where a diamond assay was executed by caustic dissolution. Within the six samples were 34 diamonds. No further testing on the quality of the diamonds was performed, as that was not the project's mandate.

"Our job is to lead the horse to water," says Calhoun. "He has to drink on his own."

The size of the samples and the lateral distribution of the locations indicate that diamonds in lamprophyres are widespread in the region and that further exploration may yield some positive finds, Calhoun said in a press release.

Although Northern Ontario has been an exploration region largely for precious and base metals, it has only been within the last 20 years more aggressive prospecting for diamonds has occurred.

Once diamonds were discovered in the North West Territories, Calhoun says, the idea that there are no diamonds in Canada moved closer to myth, and prospectors started looking in other places.

"DeBeers found the Victor deposit - then Wawa, and now they're finding diamonds in the Temiskaming area," he says.

Exploration companies like Tres-Or Resources Limited and Contact Diamond Corp. have also made some significant diamond finds, creating great potential for the next diamond mine in the Kirkland Lake and Timiskaming areas.

The DAI started in 2002 and will be completing its mandate at the end of this month.

An application to the provincial and federal governments to continue to support the initiative has been submitted. Officials are awaiting a decision.

Presently, they are completing the last two projects (geoscience profiles and GIS compilation) of 19 that were performed.

DAI was financially supported by the two levels of government and the private sector, along with $31 million worth of data donated by various companies, and literally hundreds of hours of volunteer time provided by members of the technical committee. These contributions resulted in the creation of approximately 33 person years of employment, and almost 17,000 claim units staked (to date) based on information compiled through the program.

Calhoun says they have taken away some of the high-risk work which has helped exploration companies move forward more quickly.

Because the compiled data is available to anyone, it "gives a prospector the opportunity to stay in the game," he adds.

During the last three years, the focus areas were Timmins, Kirkland Lake and Matheson. Should the program receive approval to continue, Calhoun says they want to go west, and north, as well as consider potential joint ventures with Quebec.


Northern Ontario Business
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Title Annotation:MINING
Author:Larmour, Adelle
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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