De Beers eyes diamond exploration in northern Saskatchewan – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – May 19, 2016)

The world’s largest diamond mining company has entered into a multi-million-dollar agreement to look for crystallized carbon in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin.

De Beers Canada Inc. optioned land claims south of Lake Athabasca from CanAlaska Uranium Ltd., and can now spend up to $20.4 million exploring and drilling 75 “kimberlite-style targets” identified in the 2011 Saskatchewan Geological Survey.

“We might have diamonds in Saskatchewan, and De Beers are really interested … This is an opportunity to investigate something completely new,” CanAlaska president and CEO Peter Dasler said Thursday.

The Vancouver exploration company staked its first claim on the 43,000-acre site located north of the decommissioned Cluff Lake uranium mine in 2012, after using data from the study to identify numerous kimberlite targets in the area.

Sprawling across most of northern Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta, the Athabasca Basin is a Canadian Shield formation best known for its rich uranium deposits. According to Dasler, it may also contain diamonds.

Kimberlite is a volcanic rock famous for containing diamonds. A kimberlite target is a geological formation — Dasler described it as a “gas volcano” — extending more than 100 kilometres below ground that can propel diamonds close to the surface.

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