Imagine on your next hike in the woods, stumbling across a diamond worth US$63,000,000? Well, that happened. Around 1903 In Cobalt, Ontario, the ~800 carat diamond was discovered, later coined the Nipissing Diamond. Since then, the source of the Nipissing diamond has not yet been found in the area, despite several efforts to uncover what could be a multi-billion dollar diamond discovery.
There is now a company hot on the trail of the source of the Nipissing Diamond near Cobalt, Ontario. Prospector Tony Bishop and his family have been working on the Bishop claims (a series of claims surrounding the area where the Nipissing Diamond was thought to be discovered) for a number of years sampling and researching in great detail. In 2019, Tony signed an agreement with RJK Explorations (TSX-V:RJX-A) for the exploration rights to drill some of the suspected kimberlite pipes on the claims, in hopes of finding the source of the famed Nipissing diamond.
The original diamond was sent to New York where Tiffany & Co. cut the stone. The company then sent a team to search for its source rock kimberlite. However, due to limited resources and technology at that time, the exploration soon ended with no discoveries.
In 2014, Tony Bishop and his family followed the footsteps of the team that sought the course more than 100 years prior. Bishop tested his hypothesis that circular-shaped lakes near Cobalt could represent the tops of Kimberlite pipes, as shown below:
A circular-shaped lake near Target #14 (RJK Explorations)
3D inversion of where Kimberlite pipe is predicted to be (RJK Explorations)
Five years of research and prospecting led the Bishops to discovering diamond-indicator minerals (including Pyrope Garnets: G1, G9, G10, G11, G12, Magnesium Ilmenites, Chrome Diopside and Chromites) in a down-ice glaciation pattern from his hypothesised Kimberlite targets. A similar glaciation pattern was found by Dr Charles Fipke over an 8 year period which led to the first Canadian diamond rush. That discovery of kimberlite pipes led to the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines, which broke the De Beers monopoly and earned billions over the years.
By 2019, the Bishops found 18 Kimberlite targets for drilling, as well as additional potential targets. Here is an aerial image of the targets:
Three of the potential 18 targets that the Bishops have found (RJK Explorations)
None of the Kimberlite targets have been drilled, and they are all close to where the location of the Nipissing diamond is theorized to be found. Not to mention other Kimberlite pipes already found in the neighboring area, some diamondiferous. The land is situated in an under-explored area near one of the richest mining camps in the history of Canada. The area has good infrastructure, including power lines and existing timber roads.
Additionally, De Beers, historically the world’s most successful mining company, has been heavily investing in the geological area surrounding RJK’s claims in the past two years, searching for their next big diamond mine.
In February of 2019, RJK Explorations signed a deal with the Bishops for the rights to their exploration claims. RJK Explorations is led by CEO Glenn C. Klasner who has been in the mining industry since the age of 16. Robert J. Mackay Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, worked in the investment business for 20 years, was a Vice President of two National investment firms and worked as a mining and exploration consultant for five years. The team is led by people with experience in the industry.
Some updates on their work released in their March 2020 press release:
The results of the Company’s 2019 kimberlite indicator mineral (KIM) summer sampling program, which visually illustrates the 0.25-0.50mm grain size contoured KIM trains within the Bishop North Lorrain claim block. Overburden Drilling Management processed 107 till samples with table weights normalized to 10kg per sample. KIM results were separated into five types – eclogitic garnets, G9 and G10 garnets, chrome diopsides, ilmenites, and chromites for presentation purposes.The highest result was 322 total KIMs taken down-ice of Little Grassy Lake, with 94 G9 and G10 garnets, which traditionally are used to determine favourable kimberlite sources with diamond potential.
Kimberlite Indicator Mineral visual results (RJK Explorations)
The winter drilling program is currently focused on following up on a drone magnetic low target located under Grassy Lake, which is 500 meters up-ice from the highest KIM’s in the dispersion train.
Project Manager Peter Hubacheck explained, “Of the various methods of determining kimberlite drill targets, KIM sampling is crucial in our multi-disciplinary approach, helping us to prioritize potential kimberlites that might contain diamonds. The 2019 KIM train results confirm our belief that the North Lorrain block of the Bishop Claims contains high priority targets in RJK’s search for the source of the Nipissing Diamond.
Excluding the experienced executive team, what stands out in this company is the scientific evidence (and passion) led by the Bishops and Alan Kon and the many factors that have the potential to lead to a diamond discovery: multiple mapped-out targets, confident location of kimberlite pipes, untouched land, builtin infrastructure. And, well, the 115-year-old discovery of an 800 carat diamond that sparked this exploration. Following up on what Project Manager Peter Hubacheck stated in the March 2020 press release:“It is particularly interesting that the tight corridor with the highest KIM results in the North Lorrain claim block transects an exact line with the location of the century-old trench, discovered where the historical wagon road was plotted connecting Paradis Bay to the silver mines of Cobalt.”
RJK Explorations is on a classic treasure hunt and the company has just made an important discovery that could be the first step in unlocking the source of the Nipissing Diamond. At a modest C$10 million market cap, RJK shares are cheap relative to the upside potential in the event the company does indeed have a large-scale diamond discovery on its hands; a recent 22.4 kilogram drill core sample from RJK’s Paradis Pond property contained 18 diamonds, which included a very rare green diamond.
This news of the Paradis Pond drill core was enough to grab the attention of world-renowned diamond expert Chuck Fipke, the man credited with the discovery of North America’s first diamond pipe near Lac De Gras in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
The second area that RJK has focused on in the Cobalt Mining Camp is the Kon Property, a couple kilometres west of RJK’s first diamond discovery. A kimberlite Dike was discovered in 2013 by a Prospector named Alan Kon. It had a width of roughly three meters exposed on surface, but had never been drilled. RJK drilled the dike and intersected 21.5m of hypabyssal kimberlite on a diagonal hole, for a true width of 15m. Next, RJK drilled a magnetic low anomaly 300 m south of the Kon dike and intersected 100m of kimberlite, then intersected 78.5m of kimberlite, and the third hole drilled 84 m of kimberlite. RJK recently announced that it had shipped a 273 kilogram representative sample from the Kon Kimberlite to Mr. Fipke’s CF Mineral Research Ltd. lab (CFM), and processing has started.
To find the rarest rock type in the world in a major mining camp shows the tenacity of prospectors and their determination and keen eye to look for something different. RJK has identified 39 targets within their optioned claims to be tested over the next two years. Kimberlites normally come in clusters, so the question must be asked, how many more potential diamond bearing kimberlites will RJK uncover with drilling in their upcoming program?
While RJK waits for the analysis of the 273 kilogram sample, the company is actively engaging more contract geophysics in the Paradis Pond area, in order to prepare targets for drilling as soon as the weather allows and the company personnel and contractors are allowed back to work (following the COVID-19 halt and spring breakup).
Disclosure: Author has purchased RJX-A shares on the open market and may choose to buy or sell at any time without notice. The Author has been compensated for marketing services by RJK Explorations Ltd.
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