Mantle Mapper™

A powerful tool for early stage evaluation of kimberlites

Mantle Mapper™  is a procedure developed by Mineral Services to quantitatively analyse the abundance and composition of key mantle-derived minerals (indicator minerals) in kimberlite.  This allows quick, cost-effective and reliable evaluation of the diamond potential of the host body as well as an assessment of the nature and general prospectivity of the mantle that it has sampled. Rigorous and consistent sample processing, indicator mineral recovery and analytical procedures are employed to ensure the data obtained are representative, quantitative and reproducible.

The method has been developed over the last 40+ years led by Mineral Service’s founder, Dr John Gurney, a recognised international leader in diamond research who has pioneered technology that is extensively used in exploration and evaluation projects worldwide. Mantle Mapper™ has been applied on numerous projects across four continents and has proved highly successful, both to prioritise kimberlites for further evaluation work and to assess the overall prospectivity of the regions in which they occur. As a publically reported example of this, Mantle Mapper™ was an integral component in the evaluation of over 150 kimberlites discovered on the Ekati Diamond Mine property, Northwest Territories, Canada; as documented in Dominion Diamond Corporation’s NI43-101 report on the property published in April 2013.

Key advantages of using Mantle Mapper™:

Early stage, cost effective evaluation of diamond potential:  It is a robust means of qualitatively determining the diamond potential of individual kimberlites and, in conjunction with petrographic and microdiamond data, providing a basis for decisions on whether more costly additional evaluation work is justified.

Comparison and prioritisation of kimberlites:  Consistently applied, it offers a standardised method and therefore a reliable basis for comparison and prioritisation of different kimberlites within kimberlite clusters or fields, and of different units within single kimberlite bodies.

Assessing regional prospectivity for diamonds:  Mantle Mapper™ results provide a means of assessing the prospectivity of the region in which the sampled kimberlite occurs. A low diamond content in a particular kimberlite does not necessarily rule out the presence of other diamondiferous bodies in the area in which it occurs. In many cases, however, the low diamond content of a kimberlite reflects regional factors that significantly limit the potential for diamondiferous bodies nearby.  These factors are typically evident in the Mantle Mapper™ results.

Small sample sizes:  Because indicator minerals are significantly more abundant than diamond in most kimberlites, the sample size required to generate statistically reliable data is generally considerably smaller than that required for direct analysis of diamond content (e.g. microdiamond analysis).

Complements microdiamond analysis:  Microdiamond processing and analysis is costly and can yield misleading results due to factors such as limited sample size and resultant statistical uncertainty, uncertainty in the relationship between micro and macrodiamonds, coarse stone-size distributions that are not adequately tested by the relatively small samples typically treated for microdiamonds, and sampling of material with high dilution and / or fine grain size that may not be representative of the deposit as a whole. In the early stages of kimberlite evaluation, Mantle Mapper™ provides a critical independent assessment that allows for cost-effective application of microdiamond analysis, considerably enhances the confidence level of initial estimates of diamond potential and limits the likelihood of erroneous decisions due to misleading microdiamond results.

For more information on the application of indicator mineral analysis to kimberlite exploration and evaluation see Nowicki et al. (2007).