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PDAC 2019: Benchmarked Diamond Grade Forecasts from Microdiamond Data

A treasure trove of diamond size frequency data has become available.

Diamond Exploration and Mining   |   Monday, March 4   |   3:15 - 3:40 pm     Room 716

Exploration for, and development of diamond deposits falls in the high-risk, potentially high-reward sector of the minerals industry, in large part because commercial diamond grades are remarkably variable (0.02 to 10 carats per tonne), as are commercially viable diamond values ($20 to ~ $2,000 per carat average). Successive time-consuming and costly bulk sampling (or trail mining) campaigns are hence typically required to establish the economic viability of primary diamond deposits. Since the early-80’s, petrographic or mantle-derived (indicator) mineral attributes have played a storied role as comparatively inexpensive and flexible proxies that may be applied to estimate the diamond potential of primary deposits on a qualitative or semi-quantitative basis. Another comparatively inexpensive approach involves quantitative assay of sub-commercial “micro”diamonds (in the 0.15 to ~ 1.7 mm size fractions), an activity that has expanded materially by way of industry demand since the early 2000’s. A treasure trove of such diamond size frequency data has become available in the public domain, and the public data set now covers micro-, sub-commercial and commercial-sized diamond recoveries for global exploration-, resource- and mine-stage projects that range in known grade from 0.02 to over 5 carats per tonne. This presentation highlights practical utilization of such industry benchmarks to quantitatively forecast (recoverable) commercial grades from microdiamond sampling results. Some observations will be made regarding errors, liPmitations and sample sizes.

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Herman Grutter
Herman Grutter
, PhD
Principal Consultant

Herman has 20 plus years’ experience in exploration, consulting, R&D, geology, and team management built around applied, integrated geoscience practice in global diamond, porphyry-copper exploration, and resource-level project assessment. Herman is a trusted team leader in the mineral project development, corporate strategy, commodity and peer-review spaces, with a track record of influential and persuasive relationships amongst in-house technical, commercial or financial teams, JV-partners, external stakeholders and geoscience research institutes.

PDAC 2019

SRK United Kingdom