Peregrine Diamonds says De Beers has decided it's not interested in the Chidliak project near Iqaluit.

De Beers signed an option agreement a year ago with Peregrine. If De Beers had decided on a joint venture, it would have invested nearly $60 million in Chidliak over five years and it would have become the operator of Chidliak, with a majority interest in the project.

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Bulk samples of kimberlite at Peregrine Diamond's Chidliak site in Nunavut. Peregrine Diamonds says De Beers has decided it's not interested in the Chidliak project. (Peregrine Diamonds)

The Chidliak property is about 120 kilometres northeast of Iqaluit. 

Vancouver-based Peregrine Diamonds has been doing exploration work at the site for years. In late 2011, Peregrine bought back BHP Billiton's 51 per cent share of the Chidliak property, after that company announced it was reviewing its diamond business.

This summer, Peregrine collected more than 500 tonnes of bulk sample material. It's still being processed, with final results expected early next year.

Peregrine says it will have more information about De Beers' decision — and the future of the Chidliak project — at a later date.