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98 www. bus- ex. com October 08 Toboldlygo… Mark Kolebaba explains to Gay Sutton how Diamonds North is doing things differently, not so much to lead the field, but to accelerate the diamond exploration process and stay ahead of the competition

T October 08 www. bus- ex. com 99 and are enticed by the possible rewards. But the people investing in us now are somewhat different from those of just four or fi ve years ago, because the projects are becoming more mature. The reward is starting to look better than the risk." Diamonds North is a junior mining company founded in 2002 with just three employees and the express aim of exploring for diamonds. Six years later, the company has 15 permanent staff and around 70 seasonal employees who work on the ground between March and the end of September while weather and light permit. The company has already discovered diamond-bearing kimberlite, and it has done so in just six years by employing a series of bold and unconventional moves, combined with the use of new technology, to accelerate the rate of exploration. " What we did was very different. We started off with one project of about 1 million acres," Kolebaba explains. But unlike any other junior mining company that he has heard of, Diamonds North made the decision to expand its operations and undertake a number of projects simultaneously, " giving us a better opportunity of fi nding the next diamond mine," he continues. Diamonds North he cold Northwest Territories of Canada are inhospitable, dark and icy for several months of the year, and yet they are potentially rich in quality diamonds that rank among the best in the world. The mines already operating there can yield gems priced at anything from $ 150 to $ 300 per carat, whereas diamonds from South Africa, for example, will earn around $ 86 per carat. The existing Canadian mines are also productive. Ekati, which belongs to BHP Billiton, produces one carat per tonne ( metric ton) and Rio Tinto's Diavik is even more productive at over three carats per tonne. Many other locations around the world produce less than one carat per tonne. So for the bold and dedicated, there is a lot to play for in Canada. " Diamond exploration is a high- risk business. But what makes it exciting is the reward. If you do make a discovery, the reward will be absolutely fantastic." explains Diamonds North's president and CEO, Mark Kolebaba. A successful discovery could earn around $ 20 billion, but the investment required for exploration is huge. " We have no revenues, so all our fi nancing comes from high- risk investment dollars. The investors know the risks