MARINE DIAMONDS: Afri-Can Gets Another Concession
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IT seems the tide might be turning for Afri-Can, the Canadian marine diamond miner featured last year.
The latest news from Afri-Can is that the company – which intends pursuing a JSE listing – has picked up a 800 km square exploration block on Namibia’s south coast – close to the mouth of the Orange River.
The most intriguing aspect of the deal is that Afri-Can acquired the concession from IMDH – a specialist marine diamond mining dredging company that will be leasing Afri-Can sampling and mining vessels.
IMDH will receive a 20% stake in Afri-Can in return for the concession.
The new acquisition is welcome news for Afri-Can after disappointing findings in its Block J (located some 300 km away from the new prospecting ground) sampling programme – which saw Afri-Can’s share price plummet from 26c to 6c on the Toronto Stock exchange.
Afri-Can CEO Pierre Leveille says the company discovered a profitable diamond deposit at Block J on the Namaqualand coast. “We will go back and mine it…but it was as exciting as some our shareholders were hoping for and nothing like as exciting as our new block.”
Afri-Can’s latest block – called EPL 3403 – is adjacent to the Namdeb/De Beers Marine highly profitable Atlantic One deposit (which has a resource of 100 million carats and currently produces 1.1 million carats a year).
Leveille says EPL 3403 is situated 75 km from the mouth of the Orange River, adding that initial sampling of block EPL 3403 last October already showed positive results.
“Some 199 samples of five square metres each were extracted and 14 of those samples contained 23 stones ranging between .07 and 2.69 carats per stone. In one area in the south, eight positive samples had an average size of 0.80 carats per stone – which is comparable to results from the adjacent Atlantic One deposit.”
Success in EPL 3404 would certainly put Afri-Can into another marine diamond league. But promising sampling does not (as Afri-Can have no doubt learned) always translate into stunning production figures.
Still, it will perhaps be reassuring for shareholders to see that Afri-Can’s geological team is headed by Dick Foster – who was De Beers Marine’s chief geologist for over three decades.
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