Vancouver, January 18, 2005 – Diamond Fields International Ltd. (DFI:TSX) presents a summary of exploration and development activities in Namibia, Greenland, Norway, West Africa and Madagascar.
Diamond Fields resumed production on its marine diamond concessions offshore Luderitz, Namibia for four months in 2004 under a jointly controlled operation during which a total of 52,826 carats were recovered. Diamond Fields’ 50% share of diamonds was sold at an average price of US$210 per carat for total proceeds of over US$5.4 million. The joint operation used the marine crawler equipped vessel mv Kovambo to mine portions of DFI’s Marshall Fork feature on a shared cost and shared production basis. The initial anticipated six month mine plan was completed in four months due to unprecedented availability of the mining and processing equipment. Diamond Fields and its partner did not renew the agreement and Diamond Fields is now planning to re-commence mining activities in March 2005 with its recently acquired dual airlift vessel, mv DF Discoverer, retaining 100% of the diamonds produced (before a 10% royalty to the Namibian Government). The DF Discoverer arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on December 3rd to commence a refurbishment and maintenance program to both the vessel and its associated mining plant. Repairs and upgrades include, but are not limited to, replacement of all airlift riser hoses as well as air supply and water jetting hoses. This is an area that accounted for 60% of all previous breakdown time under previous ownership. All pumps and screens in the diamond recovery plant will be inspected and replaced where necessary. A review of the plant flow characteristics may indicate modifications are required, and these would be completed at this time. The program is scheduled to continue through to March 2005 when the vessel will commence mining operations in Diamond Fields’ Namibian concessions.
Diamond Fields has also acquired a new mining technology, the Sea Diamond Miner (“SDM”), which will undergo sea trials in the second quarter, 2005. The SDM is a self contained suction dredge that has been shown in trials to be an effective and cost efficient method for lifting diamondiferous seabed gravels. Modeled excavation rates rival the production of larger and more expensive drilling and crawler based excavation methods. Modeling of existing test data on this new technology suggests it may be capable of mining lower grade areas and re-mining areas already passed over by more costly and less efficient tools.
Diamond Fields plans to conduct sea trials on the SDM to perfect deployment and recovery and to improve its operating efficiency. Plans also include utilizing it in sampling programs on its EPL1607 and ML32 concessions. Further development may include scaling the tool up for deployment in sampling and mining mode from Diamond Fields’ ship the DF Discoverer, as well as contracting the technology out to other marine diamond miners.
On Diamond Fields’ Ammassalik Island project on the east coast of Greenland, the Company’s geologists were able to identify a trail of ultramafic pods as minor fluctuations on magnetic profiles derived from the recently completed helicopter-borne magnetics and EM survey over a distance of over 2,500 meters between two mineralized outcrops. In addition, 2,000 meters further west of the main mineralization the trail aligns with a 1,300 meter long (apparently continuous) ultramafic pod that makes out a local topographical ridge. The magnetic signal of the ultramafic rock is strongest on topographical highs, but can also be recognized in talus-filled valleys. Geologists have also identified a second thin layer of ultramafic pods discovered on field observations, in-layered at a higher stratigraphical level.
The sulphide content of the ultramafic hosted mineralization varies from massive to less than 20%, which indicates a significant upgrade in nickel content may be possible during processing.
The Company has received interest in a potential joint venture for further development of the Ammassalik property, which is currently being considered by Diamond Fields.
On the west coast of Greenland, extensive areas of alteration hosting minor lenses of massive sulphide have returned anomalous nickel values. The Company is seeking a joint venture partner for further exploration and development of these properties on the suspected extension of the Trans Hudson orogenic belt, host to the Thompson Nickel deposits.
A drilling program on two poly-metallic nickel targets in south-east Norway was completed in June 2004. The Bjorndalsnipa program intersected stringer nickel mineralization containing from 0.42% Ni to 1.2% Ni over 2 meter core intercepts. On the Gulldragsvatn program, showing surface samples had indicated the potential for titanium, nickel and copper mineralization, but drilling returned only titanium (Ti) hosted in magmatic ilmenite.
On Bjorndalsnipa, the Company contracted the Finnish Geological Survey to conduct a SAMPO electromagnetic geophysical survey to search for a deep ore body that could explain the stringer nickel mineralization found during the drilling program. The SAMPO survey defined chargeability anomalies over a 1 km strike length extending from the showings drilled by Diamond Fields to the Homse deposit, a massive sulphide raft that appears to have been torn off a larger body at depth. The Company plans a review of all geophysics (HEM, Mag and SAMPO) to look for coincident anomalies. Based on the results of that review, further geophysical work would be undertaken to better define the structure and the anomaly, followed up with confirmation drilling.
In 2004, Diamond Fields expanded its exploration portfolio to include greenstone and shear hosted gold as well as kimberlite hosted diamonds in Liberia. The Company holds exploration licenses for the River Cess gold property and the Grand Gedeh gold property (option agreement with Ducor Minerals) located on the Cestos Shear Zone, a feature that runs north through the Ivory Coast and Mali and is host to numerous hard rock gold deposits. First pass reconnaissance sampling has been completed on both properties. Initial reconnaissance suggests that the Grand Gedeh property has the greatest potential to host the targeted shear hosted gold mineralization due to the presence of local artisanal miners extracting coarse grained gold in alluvial mining operations for more than 50 years. Second pass sampling and geological mapping will be undertaken early this year to improve the knowledge of the extent and tenor of mineralization.
Diamond Fields acquired the exploration licenses for the Grand Cape property (option agreement with Ducor Minerals) and the Nimba County property in 2004. The Grand Cape property is, in part, immediately adjacent to the Kpo kimberlites of Mano River Resources and has mapped kimberlite dykes on the western side. Diamond Fields is of the opinion that this property is prospective for primary kimberlite. Reconnaissance work started in early January 2005, and the first heavy mineral samples have been submitted for processing. First pass reconnaissance in Nimba County indicated a low potential for the presence of kimberlite pipes and the original exploration licenses were allowed to expire.
In Madagascar, the Company has completed first pass sampling of the recently acquired Jango Ni/PGE property northwest of Antananarivo, and is awaiting results of geochemical analysis. Diamond Fields has reduced its land position on the Horombe Plateau diamond search to the area where kimberlitic ilmenites were found.
In summary, Diamond Fields has an aggressive plan in place to resume diamond production as soon as possible, and is on schedule to be mining by the end of the first quarter of this year. The Company’s geology teams are performing detailed analysis on data from all of the exploration projects and executing programs for 2005. Diamond Fields is also evaluating other possible acquisitions in order to add additional value to its exploration portfolio.
Diamond Fields International Ltd. is an operating marine diamond producer with a superior portfolio of mineral exploration properties in several areas of the world. Diamond Fields’ corporate strategy is to maximize cash flow from its Namibian marine diamond concessions and systematically explore and develop its international mineral exploration projects. In addition, the Company continues to explore
opportunities to acquire new economic mineral projects worldwide.
DIAMOND FIELDS INTERNATIONAL LTD.
“Gregg J. Sedun”
Gregg J. Sedun, President and Chief Executive Officer
For further information contact: Investor Relations (1-888-682-2113) extension 257
All dollar values are stated in U.S. currency unless otherwise specified.
Statements in this release that are forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors identified in Diamond Fields’ period filings with Canadian Securities Regulators. Such forward-looking information represents managements’ best judgment based on information currently available. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual future results may vary materially. Diamond Fields does not assume the obligation to update any forward-looking statement.