Geology and Ore 4, 2004

Diamond exploration in Greenland

More than 1000 observations representing in situ kimberlitic dykes are now known in West Greenland, of which 2/3 are found within a major alkaline province in the region from 65°N to 67°N. To date, approximately 900 diamonds have been reported from kimberlitic rocks. The distribution of occurrences appears to partly reflect the uneven degree of investigation of different areas, and partly the fact that the rocks often occur in swarms. The commercial exploration carried out in West Greenland during the period 1992–2004 has mainly focused on the major alkaline province. The investigations of the remaining part of southern West Greenland have been of a more regional character.

Exploration history

Greenland has seen several campaigns of diamond exploration since the early 1970s. Inspired by reports of kimberlite dykes at several locations in southern West Greenland, an exploration company investigated occurrences in the Pyramidefjeld area north of Ivittuut and recovered two microdiamonds and one macrodiamond from kimberlitic samples. Early regional kimberlite prospecting covering large parts of West Greenland resulted in two microdiamonds extracted from bulk stream sediment samples from the broad Sarfartoq valley.

Field campaigns from 1994 onwards have mostly been dedicated to regional till and stream sediment sampling programmes with a view to locate kimberlite indicator minerals. Next followed airborne magnetic and electromagnetic surveys and drilling on frozen lakes for possible diatremes.

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