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by Will Purcell
The diamond and specialty minerals stocks box score on Tuesday was a mediocre 66-73-161 as the TSX Venture Exchange fell fractionally to 609 and polished diamond prices were flat. The shares of Stornoway Diamond Corp. (SWY) continue to churn, one of the few diamond stocks to do so. It closed unchanged at seven cents on 3.39 million shares today, but not before revisiting its all-time low of 6.5 cents.
Investors are hopeful that the big bulk sampling program of the Star and Orion South kimberlites in central Saskatchewan will start soon. Rio Tinto PLC is covering the cost of the work so that it might earn a 60-per-cent interest in the Fort a la Corne project from Ken MacNeill and George Read's Star Diamond Corp. (DIAM). (Star Diamond has found a new, slightly loftier perch ahead of the work this spring; today it closed unchanged at 25.5 cents on 141,000 shares.)
Rio Tinto and Star recently mapped out the 20 sites for the proposed big vertical holes into Orion South to go with the 10 sites they laid out for Star last fall. Each hole should provide 10 tonnes of kimberlite per vertical metre of descent into the two pipes, so Orion South could yield 25,000 tonnes of kimberlite in the test. The fact that two-thirds of the big holes are slated for Orion South is significant for several reasons, not the least being that Star Diamond recently changed its mine plan to start with Orion South, not the richer Star pipe, because it would cost less to put it into production and its richest rock lies closer to the surface than at Star.
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