In January 2002, 34 exploration licences for diamonds were held concentrated in Northern Mauritania where Ashton Mining and Rex Diamond Corporation started work in 1995. Diamond exploration remains the focus of several foreign companies in Mauritania including Ashton, Rex Diamonds, Dia Met and De Beers. In 1998 Ashton discovered the first diamonds and kimberlites reported from the Reguibat Shield, and subsequent work has confirmed the prospectivity of the region for economic diamond deposits. Ashton and Dia Met have a joint venture exploring 19 granted exploration licences covering approximately 224 000 km2. Ashton have discovered what is anticipated to be the country’s first diamondiferous kimberlite on its Maqteir licence in northern Mauritania. Processing of selected drill samples has recovered 78 diamonds and diamond fragments weighing a total of 2.86 cts.
Rex Diamonds has 100% ownership of nine diamond exploration permits in Mauritania, covering 90 000 km2 of the core of the archean Reguibat craton, where advanced exploration is continuing at a promising rate. As a result the company continues to make good progress, locating a total of twenty kimberlite exposures (includign some diamondiferous kimberlites) to date from, the 100% owned permit to the east of Tenoumer. Most of the kimberlites are charachterised by a series of outcropping dykes and blows that have strike lenghts of up to 7km with widths of up to 3m. Further geological studies have allowed Rex to define the boundary between the highly prospective Archaean terrain and the surrounding Lower Proterozoic terrain. Defining this boundary has allowed Rex to reduce the surface area of its permits by half. The permits are now centred on the promising areas of Tenoumer and Touajil.
De Beers entered the Mauritanian diamond exploration scene in July 2000 when a joint venture agreement with Rex was signed on the 13 426 km2 Akchar permit in the northwestern part of the country. De Beers can earn a 60% interest in the project through spending $24 million or by producing a bankable feasibility study over five years. De Beers started early stage exploration towards the end of 2000. The Akchar property is 60% covered by aeolian sand dunes and hence a high-resolution airborne magnetic survey was flown in December 2000 followed by a smaller scale helicopter borne magnetic survey in May 2001.
Guelb El Rhein, Guelb Moghrein, Kedia d’Idjil, M’Haoudat, SNIM iron ore mine – Mauritania
Rex Diamond Mining Corporation