The influence of volcanological and sedimentological processes on diamond grade distribution in kimberlites: examples from the EKATI Diamond Mine, NWT, Canada

Lucy Porritt, Raymond Cas, Laurent Ailleres, P Oshust

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    The distribution of diamonds within individual kimberlite pipes is poorly documented in the public domain due to the proprietary nature of the data. The study of the diamond distribution within two pipes, Fox and Koala, from the EKATI Diamond Mine, NWT, Canada, in conjunction with detailed facies models has shown several distinct relationships of deposit type and grade distribution. In both pipes, the lithological facies represent grade units which can be distinguished from each other in terms of relative size and abundance of diamonds. A positive relationship between olivine grain size and abundance with diamond size and abundance is observed, indicating that sorting of fragmental kimberlites influences diamond distribution. Though surface geological processes do not control the diamond potential of the erupting magma, they can be responsible for concentrating diamonds into economically significant proportions. A good understanding of the eruption, transport and depositional processes responsible for the individual lithological units and the diamond distribution within them is important for successful resource estimation. This may lead to recognition of areas suitable for selective mining, making a marginal deposit economic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1085 - 1105
    Number of pages21
    JournalBulletin of Volcanology
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

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