North Arrow Minerals Inc. (TSXV: NAR) is pushing toward a preliminary economic assessment at its 100% owned Naujaat diamond project in the Melville Peninsula, Nunavut, while carefully balancing five other diamond projects across Canada.
The Naujaat project hosts the Q1-4 kimberlite which contains 48.8 million tonnes measuring 53.6 carats per hundred tonnes for 26.1 million carats. The kimberlite is just 7 km from tidewater and 9 km from town, with ice-free shipping more than three months of the year—and at 125,000 sq. metres, Q1-4 is the largest diamondiferous kimberlite pipe in the eastern Canadian Arctic.
“We’re in a space where there aren’t that many active juniors,” says North Arrow President and CEO Ken Armstrong. “We’ve been a diamond focused explorer for the last five years and we’ve been pretty successful. Over that period, five kimberlite fields have been found in Canada and we’ve found two of them and we are the only junior company to make discoveries.”
Formerly called Qilalugaq, the Naujaat project lies on land belonging to the nearby community of the same name. North Arrow rents houses in that town and works out of it.
“Actually being able to work through the community is a big advantage,” says Armstrong. “Our local employees are able to live at home and work on the project. They eat dinner with their family at night and sleep in their own bed.”
North Arrow picked up an option on the property back in 2013 from Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX: SWY). The following year North Arrow collected a 1,350 tonne bulk sample. Although it found diamonds, it was initially disappointed as they didn’t appear to have enough value.
But North Arrow continued to examine the kimberlite, in particular the yellow diamonds that account for 21% of the diamond parcel. It took some and had them polished and the resultant gems were later certified at the Gemological Institute of America in New York as fancy vivid orangey-yellow diamonds. North Arrow separately confirmed these diamonds as containing some type 1b diamonds which represent 0.1% of natural diamonds globally.
North Arrow then looked at how the orangey-yellow were a unique population, separate from the non-yellow diamonds. It mapped out a three year program last year that started with some more drilling, intent on finding out how far the body continued.
As the company moves forward with the current 4,500 metre drill program, of which it’s completed 3,500 metres, it wants to confirm that the right tonnage is there.
“Because we think that if it is, that’s when we get to the sweet spot in terms of deposit size,” says Armstrong.
North Arrow hopes to recover between 60 and 80 carats from its latest 234 wet tonne bulk sample to help map where and how it collects a bigger sample in 2018. It expects results by the end of January.
Naujaat isn’t the only project North Arrow has on the Melville Peninsula. The Mel diamond project lies 210 km northeast of Naujaat and within 18 km of the Arctic Ocean.
Over five years North Arrow collected samples looking for glacial till indicators. This work defined several trains that cut off sharply, so the company went back in the summer of 2017 with a dedicated prospecting program.
“And it was successful,” Armstrong says. “We found kimberlite.”
North Arrow collected a 62 kilogram sample that tested positive for 23 microdiamonds across several sizes, including one that “sits on a .85 mm screen.”
Armstrong points out that North Arrow can’t make any conclusions given the small sample size, but does know the body bears significant diamonds.
“Without having even drilled the project, for less than a million dollars, we found a new kimberlite field that has diamonds in it—and that’s pretty unusual for up there,” Armstrong says. “Through this sort of incremental exploration we’ve been able to very cost effectively make this discovery, and now it’s time to take the next step.”
As with Naujaat, the next step is more drilling.
North Arrow intends to go back in June. The Mel project is already permitted, with more than half a dozen targets waiting to be tested.
In addition to drilling at Mel and Naujaat, North Arrow has planned drill programs starting early this spring on the Loki and LDG projects, located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, south of the Diavik and Ekati diamond mines.
LDG is a joint venture with Dominion Diamond Mines which has ownership interests in both Diavik and Ekati and was purchased in November 2017 by the Washington Companies.
“We have six diamond projects in our portfolio,” says Armstrong. “All six have targets and are permitted and ready for drilling. We have plans for drilling at least four of them this year.”
“North Arrow has been successful making discoveries, and now the stage is set for more discoveries in 2018.”
— The preceding Joint Venture Article is promoted content sponsored by North Arrow Minerals Inc. and written in conjunction with The Northern Miner. Visit www.northarrowminerals.com to learn more.