Canadian diamond pioneer Gren Thomas makes new discovery

D. Grenville “Gren” Thomas’s Venture-listed North Arrow Minerals rose 54% Tuesday, closing at 60 cents, after announcing a diamond discovery at its Pikoo project in Saskatchewan. You read that correctly: Saskatchewan, the land of potash, uranium, oil and gas, wheat, etc. (is there anything the province can’t produce?)

D. Grenville Thomas (Canadian Mining Hall of Fame photo)

A 210-kg. sample of drill core from Pikoo’s PK150 kimberlite – the first one discovered at the project – contained a total of 745 diamonds, including 23 larger than the .85 mm sieve size. Most of the diamonds were white octahedrons. Further drilling, geophysical surveys and exploration of the kimberlite chemistry is planned.

North Arrow is also advancing the Qilalugaq project in Nunavut and the Lac de Gras project – a joint venture with Dominion Diamonds (formerly Aber Resources) – near the Diavik mine.

Thomas, North Arrow chairman, is a Canadian diamond pioneer who is intimately familiar with the latter area. He founded Aber in 1980 and in the early 1990s staked what became the Diavik diamond mine at Lac de Gras. Diavik became Canada’s second diamond mine when it opened 10 years ago in the Northwest Territories (the nearby Ekati mine, discovered by Chuck Fipke’s Dia Met Minerals, was the first). More on Thomas here.

Thomas’s daughter is Stornoway Diamonds founder and mining executive Eira Thomas, who is Kaminak Gold CEO and sits on the board of Lucara Diamond, a Lundin play. Thomas played a key role in how North Arrow Minerals obtained the Pikoo project that lit a fire under North Arrow shares Tuesday. North Arrow obtained the option to acquire 80% of the project and two others from a private company controlled by Eira Thomas, which in turn obtained the option from Stornoway. Stornoway is constructing the Renard diamond mine in Quebec and can build its stake in Pikoo back up to 40% by paying North Arrow three times the costs incurred for the work program.

North Arrow just closed a $5.45 million private placement (priced at 40 cents) and has about 42 million shares outstanding, giving it a market capitalization of about $25 million after Tuesday’s action. According to our friends at INK Research, Gren Thomas owns about 19% of outstanding shares and Lundin family trust Zebra Holdings and Investments owns about 27% of the company.

For more details, check out the links below.

Related reading:

Part 1: Chasing the carat – Canada’s Queen of Diamonds comes full-circle | World of Mining

Part 2: Chasing the carat – The Friedlands go diamond-hunting | World of Mining

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