Home NewsAustralia Rare ‘double diamond’ discovery comes as race to restart mothballed Ellendale mine heats up

Rare ‘double diamond’ discovery comes as race to restart mothballed Ellendale mine heats up

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Mining veteran Peter McNally could not consider his eyes when his firm unearthed a particularly uncommon ‘double diamond’ within the Kimberley’s well-known Ellendale province, well-known for its beautiful fancy yellow diamonds.

The 0.85 carat gem which accommodates a second smaller diamond inside a cavity inside, is assumed to have shaped as much as 1400 million years in the past, some 200 kilometres beneath the earth’s floor.  

India Bore Diamond Holdings managing director Peter McNally mentioned the stone is regarded as one in all solely a handful of ‘double diamonds’ worldwide, that are extremely wanted by collectors.

“At first we thought that it was a in stone or one thing inside the diamond nevertheless it was clear,” he mentioned.

“So we thought, it is a diamond trapped inside a diamond. It was very thrilling.”

In 2019, Russian miner Alrosa discovered an analogous diamond, with a 0.62-carat outer shell and a free-moving 0.02-carat tough inside, which they dubbed the Matryoshka diamond after the standard Russian nesting dolls.

The signature yellow color

Mr McNally mentioned what made his firm’s discovery much more extraordinary was that each diamonds exhibit a uncommon purple hue under ultraviolet light.

Additional impartial research by Perth-based Delta Diamond Laboratory, has additionally revealed among the alluvial diamonds they recovered from an historical buried river system generally known as the L-Channel, glow an orangey-yellow color in any case UV mild sources have been eliminated.

The phenomenon generally known as phosphorescence, happens in lower than 0.01% of pure diamonds, together with the world-famous blue Hope Diamond.

Diamonds under a microscope under a UV light
Diamonds not too long ago found at Ellendale which show a purple fluorescence when put below UV mild.(Equipped: India Bore Diamond Holdings)

A brand new chapter for Ellendale

Mr McNally mentioned analysis into the connection between fluorescence and the origins of the Ellendale signature yellow color was essential, as they get nearer to beginning business manufacturing within the New 12 months.

“Consumers wish to know the place diamonds come from; they wish to know concerning the behaviour of the miner, its environmental, social and group credentials.

“We’re very near that now…we consider that we’ll have our authorities approval to begin small scale business mining in January.”

Aerial photo of mining camp in the outback
The India Bore Diamond Holdings exploration camp at Ellendale mine within the West Kimberley.(Equipped: India Bore Diamond Holdings)

Ellendale’s earlier operator Kimberley Diamond Firm went into administration in 2015, relinquished its lease and environmental liabilities — reportedly as much as $40 million — again to the State Authorities. 

Six years later, India Bore Diamond Holdings are one in all two miners working in the direction of restarting manufacturing on the mothballed mine, roughly 160 kilometres south east of Derby, which as soon as produced half the world’s provide of fancy yellows made well-known by New York jewellers Tiffany and Co.

In the meantime their neighbour Burgundy Diamond Mines, who struck a multi-million-dollar take care of Gibb River Diamonds to take over leases on Ellendale and the adjoining Blina venture this yr, are additionally concentrating on manufacturing by the fourth quarter of 2022.

Argyle closure leaves a spot

The race to kick begin the Kimberley’s diamond trade heated up final yr, following the closure of Australia’s only operational diamond mine at Argyle, one of many few recognized sources of pink diamonds on the planet.

One other rising participant is Lucapa Diamond Firm, which has recognized three new potential targets on the Brooking venture, solely 50km east of Ellendale.

The worldwide miner recovered greater than a thousand diamonds from a single drill hole on web site in 2018 however later paused exploration to concentrate on their two African mines, which are a magnet for among the highest costs per carat for tough diamonds globally.

A close up of three yellow diamonds sitting on a rock
It is hoped renewed exploration on the Ellendale mine can present a brand new supply of colored diamonds for Australia.(Equipped: India Bore Diamond Holdings)

Chairman Miles Kennedy mentioned the recommencement of the Brooking exploration program had yielded some promising outcomes.

“We have got all of the substances coming alongside to bake a really spectacular cake [and] we’ll be performing some extra airborne work over this discipline earlier than the top of the yr.

“Then topic to heritage care and surveys subsequent yr, we’ll be drilling as quickly because the moist season is over.”

Mine worker measuring drill core samples on table with truck behind him
The corporate has used helicopter-borne expertise to finish a geophysics survey over their total Brooking venture to establish drilling targets.(Equipped: Lucapa Diamond Firm)

Colored diamonds in excessive demand

Mr Kennedy has an extended historical past of looking for diamonds within the Kimberley, having arrange the Ellendale diamond mine greater than 25 years in the past.

He mentioned this time round coloured diamonds are in much higher demand, with costs of high-quality yellow stones rising as a lot as 30 per cent in recent times.

“The key corporations, each DeBeers and the Russian firm Alrosa, have each notified patrons they’re unable to fulfill the shopping for demand for pure diamonds.

“As a consequence of this you will see the best costs for gem high quality diamonds seen for most likely over 10 years.”

a large rough diamond being held by a hand.
The Merlin diamond mine produced Australia’s largest tough diamond.(provided: Lucapa Diamonds)

However the Kimberley may have some competitors on the worldwide stage, as Lucapa additionally works in the direction of restarting the Merlin Mine within the Northern Territory, the place it is estimated there may be greater than 4 million carats left within the floor.

The mothballed mine hasn’t been operational since 2003 however nonetheless holds the file for producing Australia’s largest tough diamond, weighing in at 104.73 carats.

The corporate is within the closing levels of totally buying the venture, 700 kilometres south-east of Darwin, the place it hopes to start out manufacturing in 2023, conditional on closing approvals and native title agreements. 

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