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by Will Purcell
The diamond and specialty minerals stocks box score on Wednesday was a mediocre 54-73-173 as the TSX Venture Exchange fell two points to 539. Paul Zimnisky's global rough diamond price index creaked upward 0.15 per cent over the past week but prices have remained essentially flat since a four-month, 5.5-per-cent slump ended in mid-August. It has not been a good year for rough diamonds, as prices that fell 6.5 per cent in the past year, are now down 16 per cent in the past five years and over 25 per cent since they hit a record high in 2011. Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. (MPVD), over $7 in 2016 but just 91 cents in mid-September, lost two cents to $1.36 on 95,000 shares. The company is still turning a profit at its Gahcho Kue mine in the Northwest Territories, but one that is much less than it had expected.
Dr. Robert Valliant's Tri Origin Exploration Ltd. (TOE), unchanged at three cents on 103,000 when it last traded on Friday, expects drilling to occur on its Nipissing cobalt project -- for diamonds, The company has made its second agreement with De Beers Canada in two weeks, this time covering Nipissing, just west of Cobalt in Northeastern Ontario. The first agreement covered the South Abitibi project, northwest of Nipissing. In that first deal, Tri Origin agreed that De Beers could start drilling in mid-October -- now, in other words -- on targets that could be kimberlites. Details of the deal were sparse: Not only did Tri Origin not say what De Beers would earn through its work, it also did not say how many of the previously untested targets would be drilled.
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