Nov
30
2008

How to find a diamond motherload

Diamonds from Canada: Click on the mafic link for more photos related to hunting for diamonds near the Arctic Circle.
Diamonds from Canada: Click on the mafic link for more photos related to hunting for diamonds near the Arctic Circle.Courtesy mafic

Understand geology

Chuck Fipke, with a degree in geology, was hired out of college by Kennecott Copper to look for gold and copper. About 8 years later Superior Oil hired him to look, not for metals, but diamonds. A Superior geologist named John Gurney, discovered that the presence of chromite, ilmenite, and high-chrome, low-calcium garnet within kimberlite predicted the finding of diamonds. Fipke, combining what he understood of Gurney's work with results coming out of Russian labs and his own skills with field sampling, started looking for diamonds in Canada.

Using what you know, start looking

With Superior's backing, he teamed up with a geologist and pilot named Stewart Blusson, formed Dia Met Minerals, and headed north.

Drill for samples and work "upstream"

De Beers geologists were already looking for diamonds in Canada. Fipke knew that glaciers pushed everything southward so he looked further north. He also noticed that the further North he went the less worn were the edges of the diamonds.

Fipke got a helicopter and flew back and forth over the Arctic Circle, using a magnetometer to track variations in magnetic field that would suggest kimberlite. After thousands of miles and hundreds of hours in the air, he found a promising site near Lac de Gras, a barren world of lakes and rock and muskeg a few hundred miles outside the Arctic Circle.

Keep looking, don't give up

He'd been surveying for eight years. He hadn't found a single diamond. Superior had abandoned the diamond business. Dia Met's stock was trading at pennies a share.

I worked hard, and I mean really hard. I worked seven days a week from 8 am until 3 am. Every day. We drilled and drilled all winter when it was dark and the windchill was 80 below. Everyone thought I was crazy.

Become a billionaire

In 1991, Fipke found a kimberlite pipe (buried under 30 feet of glaciated sediment) with a concentration of 68 carats per 100 tons — the first Canadian diamonds ever found. Shares of Dia Met rocketed to $70.

Chuck Fipke had partnered with mining giant Broken Hill Proprietary Company (now BHP Billiton) to get the diamonds out; BHP opened the Ekati mine at Lac de Gras in 1998. Soon Dia Met's 29 percent share of the mine was worth billions. Fipke would go on to sell his chunk to BHP for $687 million, retaining 10 percent ownership in the mine, worth another $1 billion.

Diamonds from Canada now account for 10 percent of all diamonds by carat sold in the world. The country's four working mines produced 17 million carats in 2007.

Source: How a Rogue Geologist Discovered a Diamond Trove in the Canadian Arctic Wired

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (12 votes)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Digging diamonds out of the earth takes a billion dollars up front in expenses. Here is a look at how it works.
Digging for Diamonds 24/7 Under Frozen Snap Lake

posted on Tue, 12/02/2008 - 9:05am
horse_rider123's picture
horse_rider123 says:

how do u get diamonds digging without all the big mechanical tools????/

posted on Tue, 12/02/2008 - 12:01pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

being in the right place
good observation skills-know what a diamond looks like in the rough
luck!

posted on Tue, 12/02/2008 - 12:34pm
Evan's picture
Evan says:

Would diamonds be near large concentrations of iron?

posted on Mon, 08/16/2010 - 6:27pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Nope. Diamonds are not associated with large concentrations of iron.

posted on Wed, 08/18/2010 - 7:29pm
bryan kennedy's picture

You also might head down to Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds state park. It's the only place in the US where you can walk right in and look for diamonds in a place that actually might have some diamonds!

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 10:03am
SLC's picture
SLC says:

How would you be able to find the diamonds by digging somewhere?? Would it just be luck just to find some diamond while digging in that area?

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 9:55am
bryan kennedy's picture

Well in this case the guy who helped find the diamonds was able to look at what we already know about geology and then do some tests using chemistry for some specific chemicals. By looking for the kinds of chemicals that are created in the earth along with diamonds he was able to make an educated guess about diamonds being nearby also.

So if your psyched about hunting out diamonds, check out the chemistry classes.

posted on Thu, 12/04/2008 - 10:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

why do diamonds cost so much

posted on Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:31pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I've been to the crater in ARK. and it's hard to spot good size diamond in a bunch of dirt. I'm sure someone can come up with a magic solution you can just pour on the dirt and diamonds will appear. I'm going back soon!

posted on Thu, 02/26/2009 - 1:04am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

well, you can majically pour your device to about 5' below the surface and apply the chemical H2O to the substance and, whalla, hopefully a yellow stone will majically appear. I am being silly, but however that's about it's done, according to the locals that i had interviewed, and seen sifting
for the precious stones on the ARK site.

posted on Thu, 08/19/2010 - 8:27am
123 abc's picture
123 abc says:

This is so awesome, its gonna make me rich.

posted on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 8:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Cool.

posted on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:14am
dwards's picture
dwards says:

this is so beastly

posted on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 2:17pm
johane's picture
johane says:

lots of diamonds in zimbabwe, they are said to cover a third of the country, and are mostly found, i have started to look for diamonds in zimbabwe but have little info on how to find them, i would love to get a partner who knows the business

posted on Thu, 11/04/2010 - 5:57am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is silly but i remenber finding a diamond but in pointing shape when i was little i use to live in oaxaca over the mountains where is no road or any village around but it was so strange about it because i just found it laying in the ground where a lot of white rocks where at so im so interested about diamonds now cause i still remenber the place i dont want to go just like that i want to learn what are some signs that i could be in place where diamonds could be found

posted on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 6:07am
rajat's picture
rajat says:

i stay n Karnataka which is a southern part of india. By anychance is there ant posibilities of gettin diamonds here

posted on Tue, 08/09/2011 - 3:23am
Anonamous in Oaxca's picture
Anonamous in Oaxca says:

I am in Oaxaca. Where did you find a diamond!

posted on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 2:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

look in volcanic areas

posted on Tue, 07/19/2011 - 4:01pm
Djay's picture
Djay says:

woulddimonds be found anywhere neer coal in creeks?

posted on Sun, 07/24/2011 - 6:33pm

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