The Guigues kimberlite pipe in northern Quebec, 10 km from Notre- Dame-du-Nord, was discovered by De Beers in 1983. But despite its long history, it has never seen modern microdiamond testing.
Tres-Or Resources (TSXV: TRS) is hoping to change that this year with a five-hole drill program. The junior, which acquired the pipe in 2003, says advances in knowledge about diamond indicator mineral chemistry have made it clear that Guigues is a compelling prospect.
Tres-Or president and CEO Laura Lee Duffett says exploration at the project is already advanced. “We’re not looking for kimberlite, we’re not looking for chemistry – we already know what we have. These are now the more advanced tests to quantify and evaluate what we have at Gig.”
A previous operator at Guigues recovered a 2-mm by 1-mm by 0.5-mm macrodiamond through reverse-circulation drilling in 1989 – even though industry standards for drilling kimberlite and analyzing the samples did not yet exist.
And Tres-Or has the results of five small samples taken from the pipe in 2008 that showed promising mineral chemistry (eclogitic garnets with diamond inclusion compositions).
Most promising is a paper published in November 2018 that shed light on the lherzolite chemistry of the exceptional diamonds from De Beers’ Victor mine, in northern Ontario (by Stachel et al). Duffett says the two kimberlites are both in the Timiskaming Structural Zone, are the same age (Lower Jurassic), and have the same chemistry.
The company has confirmation that the chemistry is the same from diamond legend Chuck Fipke, who recently conducted a reclassification of indicator mineral grains from the Gig pipe. “We have our chemistry and our re-classification of the Gig grains from Dr. Charles Fipke, but what he also recognized is that the lherzolite component of the Gig kimberlite is probably going to make this discovery.”
In order to advance Guigues, Tres-Or has optioned its Fontana gold project, near Amos, Que., to private company Kiboko Exploration. The deal, which closed in July, will see up to $6.5 million invested in the project and in Tres-Or.
Tres-Or also completed a 10:1 rollback and closed the first part of a planned $1-1.2 million private placement in July, raising $659,000. It’s aiming to close the second part this fall, and drill five holes totalling 1,500 metres at the 5- to 7-hectare Guigues pipe in the fourth quarter.
Budgeted at $679,000, the program will also test at least two more targets with 150-metre holes.
The plan is then to use the Gig pipe as a qualifying transaction to spin out the company’s diamond assets, get fair value for the assets by having the public company buy the assets, and dividend that back to Tres-Or shareholders, Duffett says.
The Lake Timiskaming area is something of a hot spot for diamond exploration at the moment. Across the border near Cobalt, in Ontario, De Beers is exploring at two of Tri Origin Exploration’s properties. And RJK Explorations has drilled several holes at its Bishop Nipissing project. The 800-carat Nipissing Yellow diamond was found in the area in the early 20th century.
Having access to road, power and other infrastructure is a huge advantage for a diamond exploration project. Another plus is that Tres-Or has had a memorandum of understanding with the local Timiskaming First Nation since 2002.
“The most important thing is we’re partners with the Timiskaming First Nation,” Duffett says. “So we’ll be making this discovery hand in hand with them.”
– This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of Diamonds in Canada.