Company's Timantti project in Finland is the world's most recently recognized diamond-bearing field
Four kimerlites already found and has 38 targets potentially for 2019
Firm has no competitors in region and there has been very little diamond exploration since the financial meltdown of 2008
Same chemistry and geology as the huge Grib mine in Russia
Strong management with experience of finding and establishing diamond mines
What does Arctic Star Exploration Group do?
The junior resource group owns 100% of its flagship Timantti (which means diamond in Finnish) project, which lies between the township of Kuusamo in Finland, near the Russian border to the east. It lies on the same geological belt as the Grib mine in Russia, one of the largest diamond mines in the world, which is 450km southeast. Grib has an estimated reserve of 98.5 million carats and an annual production capacity of 3.62 million carats.
The firm has a lot of ground and Timantti is within a 289-hectare exploration permit (named Salvarra), where all four of the firm's kimberlite discoveries have been made so far.
Arctic Star also has a 193,700-hectare exploration reservation, in which it recently gained a second exploration permit totaling 882 hectares named Vaimosou.
Assets in Canada too
The company also has a joint venture in the Diagras property (25,595 hectares) in the North West Territories, where Margaret Lake Diamonds has a 60% interest. The property is 22km from the producing Diavik diamond mine.
Elsewhere, the Stein property is an advanced, drill-ready diamond exploration project, which currently has six targets with only 3m (meters) of overburden. It consists of four adjoining prospecting permits covering an area of 105,637 hectares on the Boothia Peninsula.
Meanwhile, Arctic's Redemption project consists of two properties in the Northwest Territories near the prolific Lac de Gras kimberlite field. They are also close to the world class Ekati and Diavik diamond mines.
How's the company doing?
Exploration at Timantti was successful last season and Arctic expects to repeat that trend in 2019. It has 38 targets to investigate.
So far in Finland, the firm has found four kimberlites - all between one and three meters deep - using initially an excavator, which is cheaper than drilling. These are called the grey, white and black wolves and Vasa dykes.
A kimberlite is volcanic rock which hosts diamonds and predominantly occurs in groupings averaging a minimum of 30 so-called 'pipes' but fields can have over 300 kimberlite pipes, like the Lac de Gras field, which supports the Ekati and Diavik mines. Ekati was Canada's first diamond mine and produced 40 million carats from six open pits between 1998 and 2008.
This month, the firm kicked off 2019 exploration at Timantti - starting with ground magnetic surveys over priority targets, which will be followed by trenching over the anomalies using an excavator. Any discoveries will be followed up with drilling to get some core for fusion.
As Arctic's President and CEO Patrick Power recently told Proactive, last year's fusion program saw 1,300 diamonds produced from a small 409 kg sample - some of which were commercial size. The White wolf produced some particularly good stones.
"It's not about discovery anymore. It's about building tonnes," said Power, who added that this year's program should generate yet more tonnage.
He also noted that Arctic Star was focused so far on just 250 acres of a 200,000 hectare property so it had had " a lot of success in a small area".
In March, the firm closed an oversubscribed private placing, bringing in $850,000 to develop the project, and Power has said the firm may raise more and is talking to groups who like what the firm is doing.
Work started at Diagras
Last month, exploration started at the firm's 40%-owned Diagras property in the Northwest Territories (Margaret Lake Diamonds has 60%), which lies directly on trend with the Diavik deposits, which are being mined by a joint venture between Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) and Dominion Diamond Diavik.
Work will consist of gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic (EM) ground surveys focused around historically identified kimberlites in a bid to identify further kimberlite potential for drilling.
Power has said the plan is to develop an ore body quickly and sell it to one of the local mines, which are running low on ore (five to seven years left).
The team at Arctic Star has form when it comes to diamonds. Notably, Finland country manager Roy Spencer discovered the first kimberlites on the Pilbara craton in Western Australia in 1989, and as leader of the owners team for Archangel Diamond Corp, was largely responsible for the discovery of the world class Grib kimberlite in Russia in 1996.
In 2006, as the CEO of London-based European Diamonds, Roy led the owners team, which brought the Liqhobong kimberlite in Lesotho into commercial production on-time and under-budget.
Meanwhile, vice-president of exploration, Buddy Doyle has 25 years’ experience and was at Rio Tinto for over 23 years, most recently in charge of diamond exploration in North America. Doyle led the team which discovered the Diavik diamond deposits in 1994/95.