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Selection of diamonds recovered from Peregrine's CH-6 Bulk sample. The largest stone weighs 8.87 carats.

Peregrine Expands Summer Diamond Program

Peregrine’s two year exploration program at Chidliak will help define the diamond resources for the project and pave the way for a pre-feasibility study to determine economic viability. By far, the biggest challenge for the company will be the costs associated with doing business in the high Arctic.

Disclaimer: This is an editorial review of a public press release and not an endorsement. It may include opinions or points of view that may not be shared by the companies mentioned in the release. The editorial comments are highlighted so as to be easily separated from the release text and portions of the release not affecting this review may be deleted.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwired – March 18, 2014) – Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. (“Peregrine” or “the Company”) (TSX:PGD) is pleased to announce that the 2014 exploration and diamond resource definition program at its 100 percent-owned Chidliak diamond project (“Chidliak” or “the Project”), on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, has commenced. The primary objective of the 2014 program will be to advance 3 to 5 kimberlites showing economic potential to the bulk sample stage and to commence logistical preparations for the 2015 bulk sampling program. The objective of the 2015 bulk sampling program will be to confirm sufficient diamond resources to enable commencement of a pre-feasibility study for Baffin Island’s first diamond mine. The approved budget for the 2014 program is $7,000,000.

We’ve got some great articles on diamond exploration, diamond geophysics and working in the far north written by a former Peregrine geophysicist. I know we’ve talked about Peregrine before and have perhaps given them more attention than some other companies, but with a collection of high quality knowledge base articles on diamonds, it’s hard not to talk about them. There’s a lesson here: If you’re an exec or a geologist from a junior mining company, this is your cue to contribute to geology for investors. We are always in need of quality articles that add to our knowledge base and serve our readers.

End plug. Now let’s talk about this release.

The last time we talked about Peregrine they had bulk sampled their CH-6 kimberlite and were reporting a grade of 2.78 carats per tonne (cpt). More recent information from the company lists the grade as 2.58 cpt with an average value of $213 USD per carat. While they are planning to publish a Resource for CH-6 in the coming months, their summer program is designed to expand the project and explore some of the other kimberlites in the area. The Chidliak Project is located on Baffin Island in the Nunavut territory of Canada.

Location of Peregrine Diamond's Chidliak Project in northern Canada.

Location of Peregrine Diamond’s Chidliak Project in northern Canada.

A bulk sample that was collected from the CH-6 kimberlite in 2013 has confirmed the economic potential of this kimberlite. Two additional kimberlites, CH-7 and CH-44, have had sufficient diamond testing to be ready for bulk sampling in 2015. Peregrine plans to advance additional kimberlites to the bulk sample stage in 2014 by completing a program of core drilling on these pipes. In addition, thorough exploration will be focused on discovering new kimberlites with economic potential in a priority area that includes the CH-6, CH-7 and CH-44 kimberlites. The 2014 program is expected to be completed in September.

The exploration season in the far north generally runs from March to September (at best) which is when the company plans to run its program.

BULK SAMPLE PREPARATION

  • Core Drilling. A minimum of 2,500 metres of core drilling will be completed on key kimberlites including CH-6, CH-7 and CH-44 commencing in early July. Results from the core drilling, including microdiamond analyses and geologic models, will be incorporated into the final design of the 2015 bulk sampling program.
  • Mobilization of Bulk Sample Equipment. A large diameter RC drill rig specifically designed for Chidliak, and supporting supplies and equipment is scheduled to be mobilized to Iqaluit by sealift in September in preparation for 2015 bulk sampling.
  • Heli-portable Reverse Circulation (“RC”) Drilling. Grid drilling will be completed over several kimberlites with economic potential, including CH-6, CH-7 and CH-44, to accurately map the overburden depth and prepare for future trenching programs. The RC drilling will commence in April and will continue through the summer season.

Drilling with a large diameter RC drill rig will allow the company to take samples for microdiamond analysis and essentially determine if a pipe is diamondiferous (contains diamonds). If diamonds occur in the drilled samples, the pipe will be added to a bulk sampling program. In diamond exploration, bulk samples of hundreds to thousands of tonnes are required to estimate grade.

KIMBERLITE TARGET GENERATION AND TESTING

  • Ground geophysics. In preparation for drill testing, ground geophysical surveys will be completed over priority geophysical anomalies and in areas with unexplained kimberlite indicator minerals and kimberlite float.
  • Heli-portable RC Drilling. Commencing in April, high priority kimberlite targets will be drilled. Priority areas targeted for drilling include the String of Pearls, just north of CH-6, Area B, located 15 kilometres east of CH-6 where high-interest kimberlite float has been discovered and anomaly 645, a two hectare high priority geophysical anomaly located 13 kilometres southwest of CH-6.
  • Core Drilling. A minimum of 1,500m of core drilling of high priority kimberlite targets will be completed this summer.
  • Prospecting and Heavy Mineral Sampling. Ground truthing and prospecting is scheduled for approximately 20 targets in the priority area that includes CH-6, CH-7 and CH-44. In addition, approximately 400 heavy mineral samples will be collected in high priority areas. Prospecting and heavy mineral sampling will commence in July.

The company already has a few pipes they want to prepare for bulk sampling, but they are also hoping to identify new pipes in the vicinity. In order to hone in on the most prospective targets, the company will use ground geophysics and indicator mineral sampling. Certain heavy minerals like pyrope garnet and ilmenite are known to be associated with kimberlite pipes and are used to trace the location of small kimberlite pipes in glaciated terranes. Ground geophysics will help with target refinement in areas previously identified during early exploration.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

As reported on February 26, 2014, a 404 tonne bulk sample collected from the surface of the CH-6 kimberlite in 2013 returned a grade of 2.58 carats per tonne for commercial-size diamonds larger than the 1.18 mm square mesh sieve size. An average price of US $213 per carat for a 1,013 carat diamond parcel was determined by WWW International Diamond Consultants. Peregrine expects to declare the first resource for CH-6 in the second quarter of 2014. As reported on November 22, 2010, a 47.2 tonne surface sample collected from CH-7 returned a grade of 1.04 carats per tonne with the largest diamond being 6.53 carats in size. As reported on November 21, 2011, initial microdiamond results from CH-44 showed a coarse diamond size distribution.

The “mini” bulk sample of the CH-7 pipe returned a grade of 1.07 cpt, but it’s too early to say what that means. True bulk samples of these pipes will be needed to ascertain the grade and potential value. Consider that the Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories produced less than 0.5 cpt last year, but it’s highest grade pipes produce diamonds valued at more than $400 USD per carat. In contrast, the nearby Diavik Mine produced more than 4 cpt, but at a lower value of around USD $140 per carat.

Dr. Herman Grütter, Professional Geologist and Peregrine’s Program Manager, Chidliak Exploration, is a Qualified Person and is responsible for the design and conduct of the exploration programs at Chidliak. Mr. Alan O’Connor, Peregrine’s Program Manager, Chidliak Resource Evaluation, is a Qualified Person and is responsible for the design and conduct of bulk sampling programs at Chidliak.

Messrs. Grütter and O’Connor have reviewed this release and approved of its contents.

ABOUT PEREGRINE DIAMONDS

Peregrine is a diamond exploration and development company focused on Canada’s North. The Company has discovered two new diamond districts in Nunavut, Nanuq in 2007 and Chidliak in 2008. At its 100 percent-owned Chidliak project, located 120 kilometres from Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, 67 kimberlites have been discovered to date with nine being potentially economic. In April 2013, Peregrine collected a bulk sample weighing 404 dry tonnes from the CH-6 kimberlite. The 404 tonne sample returned a grade of 2.58 carats per tonne for diamonds larger than the 1.18 mm sieve size. An independent diamond valuation of the resulting 1,013 carat parcel of diamonds returned an average market price of US$213 per carat and modelled prices that ranged from a minimum of US$162 per carat to a high of US$236 per carat with a base model price of US$188 per carat. The 2014 exploration program has commenced and planning is now underway for an important 2015 resource definition program that will be designed to advance Chidliak to the feasibility stage.

Peregrine’s two year exploration program at Chidliak will help define the diamond resources for the project and pave the way for a pre-feasibility study to determine economic viability. By far, the biggest challenge for the company will be the costs associated with doing business in the high Arctic.

Grades so far are pretty good – but they will have to be.

At its 72 percent-owned, nine hectare DO-27 kimberlite in the Northwest Territories, located 27 kilometres from the Diavik Diamond Mine, a NI 43-101 compliant mineral resource of 18.2 million carats of diamonds in 19.5 million tonnes of kimberlite at a grade of 0.94 carats per tonne, which is open at depth, was confirmed in 2008. Peregrine also continues to evaluate earlier stage diamond exploration projects it controls in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and through comprehensive evaluation of its extensive and proprietary diamond exploration databases, is working towards discovering additional new diamond districts in North America. A key asset being utilized in Peregrine’s search for a new Canadian diamond district is a proprietary database acquired from BHP Billiton that contains data from approximately 38,000 kimberlite indicator mineral samples covering approximately three million square kilometres of Canada.

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Geology for Investors seeks to demystify mineral exploration and mining projects for mining company investors. All of our writers and contributors are experienced and educated in geology and the geosciences.