Benchmark owns 100% of the Muskox Project which totals near 600km2.The Muskox Project has been previously explored by a number of private and public companies over the years with the most notable being Canamera Geological (“Canamera”), Lytton Minerals (“Lytton”), New Indigo Resources Inc. (“New Indigo”), Ashton Mining (“Ashton”), De Beers Canada Exploration Inc. (“De Beers”) and Tahera Diamond Corporation (“Tahera”). De Beers and Tahera have conducted extensive exploration programs in the vicinity of and within the Muskox Project as part of their historic Polar and/or Rocking Horse Lake projects. Diamond exploration on the Polar Property first began in 1992 covering an area of 47,500ha.
The work by De Beers and Tahera led to the discovery of and evaluation of the Muskox, Voyageur, Unicorn, Rush, Peregrine and Troll Kimberlites.
De Beers discovered the Muskox kimberlite in May of 1996 when the kimberlite was intersected by two drill holes, namely RHL96-5C and RHL96-6C. These exploration drill holes tested a magnetic dipole signature strongly skewed towards a magnetic high and located under a small, circular waterbody. Muskox is a multiphase Jurassic (173±2 Ma) kimberlite intrusion with a diameter at surface of about 200m and a total surface area of approximately 4 ha, which is large for a kimberlite body in this part of the Slave Geological Province. It is a circular body at surface that tapers with depth. The surrounding country rock is dominantly granodiorite.
The Muskox Kimberlite which was previously discovered and worked by De Beers Canada and Tahera Corp., has two phases and is known to yield diamond grades in the magmatic phase of 0.53 carats per tonne (c/t) and diamond grades in the pyroclastic phase of 0.35 carats per tonne from mini-bulk samples weighing 865 and 63 dry tonnes, respectively (2006). Little is publicly known about the chemistry of the Muskox kimberlite and the quality of diamonds obtained to date, other than it is reported to have a significant population of eclogitic diamonds (as illustrated below).
Macrodiamond modelling was performed by Mineral Services of Vancouver on both the M1 and M2 units. Subsets of the respective units were also modelled after the removal of the largest stones which did not fit on a lognormal distribution curve and could cause a “nugget effect”. The grade prediction modelling used a cut-off of 0.01 carats. The modelled grade for the M2 unit subset was 1.22c/t with a range from 0.82 to 1.65c/t. The modelled grade for the M1 unit subset was 0.41c/t with a range from 0.28 to 0.52c/t for the M2 unit subset. The results of the grade modelling from the M2 unit are significantly better than the grades indicated by the De Beers bulk sample.
Historical and new gemstones of high quality have been sampled at Muskox. Many of the larger diamonds exhibited exceptional clear to colourless character and little to no inclusions, including diamonds at 2.73 carats, 2.67 carats, 1.61 carats and 0.49 carats.
The Muskox kimberlite has yielded encouraging diamond results from both caustic fusion analysis and Dense Media Separation (“DMS”) processed bulk samples from a number of sampling campaigns. Over 150 drill holes have been completed through historical work programs that includes geophysics, KIMs and chemistry analysis. Numerous kimberlites have been discovered with in the Muskox field and additional targets have been identified for future drilling.
Benchmark has identified a minimum of 6 new geophysical targets for new discovery drilling. Some of the new targets are supported by historical and new work that includes kimberlite and mantle indicator minerals (KIMs), including G9 and G10 garnets in kimberlite mineral dispersal trains.
Michael Dufresne, M.Sc., P.Geol., P.Geo., an independent director of the Company, also serves as a Technical Advisor and is the Qualified Person, as defined by National Instrument 43-101, responsible for reviewing and approving the technical content of all materials publicly disclosed by Benchmark, including the contents of this website.