Price rise offers majestic result

A price increase for diamonds from the Kimberley region of South Africa augurs well for Majestic Resources NL which has just commenced bulk sampling its Pniel Estate diamond project.

The Pniel Estate project, located on the southern bank of the Vaal River, thirty kilometres north-west of Kimberley in the

district of Barkley West in Northern Cape Province, represents something of a coup for the Perth-based diamond hunter.

The 25,200 hectare area, held under Deed of Grant since 1881 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Africa, has remained unexplored since 1870 due to ownership by the church.

Majestic purchased a 95 per cent interest in the mineral rights for $380,000 and six million shares in the company.

It also has the option to purchase the remaining 5 per cent at a future date subject to fair value. Majestic will pay the church a 12 per cent royalty on diamond production with a minimum of $3,300 per month.

South African diamond consultant Ddraig Mineral Development Ltd (DMD) reported that an extension of the world-famous Droogeveld Channel occurs on the estate. The Channel was mined extensively with a return of some 500,000 carats with the largest recorded stone of 308.75 carats.

DMD has concluded that an area of around four square kilometres exists on Pniel immediately on strike of the Droogeveld Channel with potential for diamondiferous gravels.

DMD’s general findings are that the Pniel Estate is divided into clear western and eastern areas separated by a central basement high. The Droogeveld Channel lies in the western sector, while in the eastern area two large and highly prospective calcretised pan areas have been discovered adjacent to the farm Nooitgedacht (production of 76,000 crts including the 511ct Venter diamond).

A third area of interest is the forty-five kilometres of Vaal river frontage that occurs on the estate. The river was the original area worked by prospectors in the early 1880s.

Majestic’s newly appointed exploration manager (diamonds), Manfred Marx, has designed a comprehensive exploration

programme for the western area of the Pniel Estate which commenced in August and will be completed by March 2000.

The company has completed 5,375 metres of percussion drilling on the gravel bearing channels in the western area to assess its geometry and will follow this with bulk sampling.

This programme aims to identify ten to twenty million tonnes of diamond bearing gravels to support the development of a commercial mining operation.

This initial programme will take nine months to complete.

The 50,000 tonne bulk sampling of the Droogeveld extension gravels, using a new plant with prescreening, washing trommel, 4.2 metre pan and a sorting room complete with grease tables, is planned for mid-November, with completion in March 2000.

Preliminary percussion drilling was also undertaken on three properties near Delportshoop, about fifteen kilometres north-west of the Pniel activity. The target there is the lower Rietputs terrace gravels formed at the Vaal-Harts River confluence.

This is an established diamond producing area reporting high quality gemstones.

An evaluation of diamonds in the Kimber-ley region by the consultants reported that the average price for gem quality alluvials from the Kimberley-Barkley West region has risen from US$800 per carat to US$1000/ct.

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