Patience, luck are key to diamond mining in Saskatchewan
It has been 25 years since diamonds were first discovered in Saskatchewan
Twenty-five years after deposits of diamonds were identified in Saskatchewan's north, people in the mining business say it will take patience, and some luck, to create a viable diamond industry in the province.
One of the companies that is looking for diamonds is North Arrows Minerals.
"There is a real process involved and it requires patience, and persistence," company president Ken Armstrong told CBC News, noting the normal progression, if all goes well, to a functioning mine is 15 years.
"We had some good targets," Armstrong said of their most recent exploration work. "We're hoping there'd be kimberlite, and there is. We were hoping there'd be diamonds, there's diamonds. So now we need to keep on going at it and do more work to try and expand it and see if there's size to the body and if the grade might be there, and ultimately there's a whole bunch more work just to get to the point to determine if the diamonds have a value or not."
What is kimberlite?
Kimberlite is a type of rock that sometimes contains diamonds. It is named after the town of Kimberley in South Africa, where the discovery of a large diamond in 1871 spawned a diamond rush.
Another company, Shore Gold, has been working on its Fort-a-la-Corne site, east of Prince Albert, since 1995.
"The kimberlites are very big, and it takes a long time to evaluate them," Shore Gold Vice-President George Read explained. "The fact that they are covered by 100 metres of overburden meant that a lot of work had to be done."
Shore Gold has prepared studies which show it believes a diamond is economically viable. It is currently working on various permits, and financing, to get a mine in operation. That is hoped for in about five years, but the time frame is not set in stone.
With files from CBC's Ryan Pilon