In the video above, Tornquist highlights Dunnedin’s upcoming drill program, which will have two main objectives: expanding the existing resource at the project and drilling “new, exciting pipe targets.”
Tornquist, whose extensive experience in the diamond sector includes a stint leading the development of a growth strategy for Rio Tinto’s (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) diamond business, believes those programs will highlight Kahuna’s strong potential.
“I was very attracted to Dunnedin’s Kahuna project because of the potential I see in it,” she says. “What got me listening initially was Chuck Fipke’s comment that it was the best diamond project, the most promising diamond project, he’d seen in Canada since he discovered Ekati.”
Watch the video above for more insight from Tornquist on Dunnedin and on the diamond market as a whole. You can also view the transcript for this interview below.
INN: Would you mind starting by talking about your background in diamond mining and what drew you to your new position at Dunnedin?
CT: I’ve been in mining for quite a few years now. I worked for nine years with Rio Tinto, and also quite extensively with their diamond group, for example in the evaluation of their big Argyle and Diavik diamond projects. I was very attracted to Dunnedin’s Kahuna project because of the potential I see in it. What got me listening initially was Chuck Fipke’s comment that it was the best diamond project, the most promising diamond project, he’d seen in Canada since he discovered Ekati.
INN: There are a number of people on the team at Dunnedin who have extensive experience working in the diamond industry and in Nunavut. Can you tell me about them and what they bring to the company?
CT: I already mentioned Chuck Fipke, who’s a legend in Canadian diamonds. He’s one of the largest shareholders in Dunnedin, and has been involved in depth in the exploration work, applying the same methods he used in the Ekati discovery. He’s been invaluable. Another big supporter of the project and an advisor to the company is John Robins, who’s been involved in Nunavut for [about 20] years. His experience as a mining entrepreneur and company builder has also been incredibly helpful.
INN: Dunnedin’s main asset is the Kahuna project in Nunavut. What work has the company done there this year?
CT: [We’ve taken] a couple of important steps forward this year. We’ve announced all the diamond recoveries from our bulk samples, and had grades consistently higher than have been historically recovered. We have also done an extensive sampling program. Last year, we took 1,100 samples and this year more than three times as many. Another important milestone was the endorsement we got from the local communities for the project, and the support from the local communities.
INN: What are the company’s plans headed into 2018? What would be the next major catalyst?
CT: 2018 will be a very exciting year for Dunnedin. It will be the first time we will put the drill bit to the ground, and we’ve got a drill program planned with two objectives. Firstly, to expand our existing resource. We are confident we’ll be able to increase the resource from the current 4 million carats to approximately 10 million with quite a limited, low-cost program. That’s the first angle of our exploration.
Secondly, we will be drilling some new, exciting pipe targets that we think have the potential to take the company to the next level. We’ve spent a lot of work on sampling and data analysis over the last two years, and Chuck Fipke has been instrumental in this. We’ve prioritized a large number of kimberlite pipe targets, and we’ll now drill the most promising of those. [We] hope to be able to announce a transformative discovery next year.
INN: Do you have funding in place to carry out those plans, or will you be going to market for financing?
CT: We are funded for this winter drill program.
INN: Can you share some insight on the diamond industry as a whole right now? What did we see in 2017, and what do you think we’ll see next year?
CT: 2017 certainly was a somewhat challenging year for the diamond industry, with three new big mines coming on. The weakness was mostly in the lower-quality diamond segment, with the higher-quality diamonds performing well, and that’s where we think our diamonds will be. We’re quite optimistic on the diamonds from the Kahuna project. We had in the past a 5-carat diamond that was reconstructed from a 13-carat diamond in a relatively small sample, and they are certainly good-looking diamonds. We’re quite optimistic on our diamonds.
Going forward, I think the supply picture in the general diamond market looks quite good in that there are only two large projects in the pipeline of +1 million carats. There’s not too much new supply coming on, and the economy is strong in the main markets — US, China, India. Hopefully we’ll see good demand.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.
Dunnedin Ventures is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.