Mining and exploration review north of the 60th parallel

The Saskatchewan Research Council’s Geoanalytical Laboratories and Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ assists clients with diamond exploration programs

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The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) has been supporting the diamond industry since the first diamond discoveries in Saskatchewan and has expanded capacity and developed expertise concurrently with growing needs in industry. Now, almost 30 years after that first find, diamond companies from across Canada and around the world send samples to SRC for processing and analyses.

Collectively at its Geoanalytical Laboratories and Advanced Microanalysis Centre™, SRC has the knowledge base to assist clients with diamond exploration programs and provide prospectors, junior exploration, and major exploration companies with the data and expert interpretation needed to facilitate their testing programs. SRC laboratories provide all of the services that exploration companies need to find new kimberlites and understand the diamond prospects of their deposits – from recovery of kimberlite indicator minerals (KIMs) to evaluating macro-diamond recovery from bulk samples.

The indicator mineral circuit is designed to recover indicator minerals for both glacial and fluvial sediments samples and kimberlite. The KIM-bearing material is processed down to 0.25 millimetres for mineral observation conducted by an expertly-trained indicator mineral observation staff, all of whom have experience with many different regions across the country and are therefore familiar with different background mineralogies and subtle changes in morphology.

Positively identified KIMs are then passed to mineralogy experts working in the Advanced Microanalysis Centre™ where the minerals’ major and minor element concentrations are measured using a state-of-the-art electron microprobe. The Advanced Microanalysis Centre electron microprobe facility provides clients with quality control data suitable for independent verification of precision and accuracy. A wide range of standards, operating conditions, and matrix corrections allows for complete customization of the analyses to suit the clients’ needs. If desired, trace-element analysis can be provided by laser ablation mass spectrometry for Ni-in-garnet thermometry and further study.

Geoanalytical Laboratories diamond recovery facility has several different areas designed for high-security diamond recovery and analysis – an 80 kiln caustic fusion micro-diamond recovery facility and a full mini-bulk sample dense medium separation plant complete with x-ray sorting and final recovery grease table. Safety and security are the guiding principles of the diamond recovery circuits at SRC. These ideals have led to the development of a secure glove box for hand sorting and other new and innovative physical, electronic, and personal security measures that ensure that it is nearly impossible for samples to be contaminated or tampered with.

SRC provides a full spectrum of diamond exploration and mining services in one single location. This combination of services is good news for companies looking to streamline their laboratory services to keep programs on track and reduce overall shipping costs. And all of SRC’s facilities work cooperatively so as not to overlook any value-added opportunities that can surface during analyses. This integrated approach means there’s potential to provide important information that could be missed by sending material to several different laboratories and or locations. For a complete list of service offerings or for more information, visit www.src.sk.ca/mining.

The Saskatchewan Research Council is one of Canada’s leading providers of applied research, development and demonstration (RD&D) and technology commercialization. With more than 350 employees, $67 million in annual revenue, and over 67 years of RD&D experience, SRC provides services and products to its 1,400 clients in 20 countries around the world.

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