Recent changes in the mining act and the discovery of large gemstone quality diamonds in Madagascar have led to a rush by international mining companies to acquire claims in the most prospective areas.

Two hundred million years ago, Madagascar formed part of the super-continent Gondwana. The western margin of Madagascar was attached to Africa (adjacent to Tanzania) and the eastern margin to India). This is of significance to diamond exploration, because both Tanzania and India contain numerous kimberlites, the intrusive rocks that can host diamonds. Madagascar has had very little systematic exploration for kimberlites. To date, no discoveries have been announced. There is strong evidence to suggest that diamondiferous kimberlites or related rocks may be present on the island. Two very large, gemstone quality diamonds were recently purchased by Diamond Fields International from alluvial sapphire miners in the Sud-Est region of Madagascar. These diamonds weigh 23.82 and 8.39 carats respectively. This is a significant discovery since no kimberlites are known to have been found on the island and the primary source of these diamonds still awaits discovery. According to government data, a number of other diamonds have been recovered in Madagascar over the past century.

Canada’s Pan African Mining through its operating subsidiary, PAM Madagascar Sarl, holds 10-year research permits covering in excess of 3000 square kilometres in areas deemed prospective for diamond exploration in various regions of the country. The company commenced exploration in 2004 and announced that kimberlite indicator minerals had been recovered from an initial reconnaissance sample taken.

In 2004 Majescor Resources reached an agreement with De Beers to form a joint venture to explore for diamonds in the cratonic areas Majescor holds rights to in northern and central Madagascar. In 2003 and 2004, De Beers has collected and processed a total of 102 samples totaling 77 m3 in volume from areas of Madagascar selected for their diamond potential. The company spent over C$1,000,000 on the exploration programme and on the evaluation of samples. The company’s analysis led to the recovery of 4,378 visually positive kimberlitic indicators, some of which have been confirmed, through micro probing, as having a kimberlitic origin.

Facilities (5)
Ambatovy Mine, Andriamana, Andriamena, Bemanevika, Toalagnaro

Shaun Bakamoso

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