About the project
In the top end of Australia, approximately 720 kilometres south-east of Darwin, lies the Merlin Diamond Project.
It was acquired in 2021 for A$8.5 million by Australian Natural Diamonds, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lucapa.
Merlin encompasses two tenements consisting of a 24 km2 mineral lease and 210 km2 exploration licence which encompasses the mineral lease. The Mineral Lease contains 11 previously discovered kimberlite pipes in three clusters namely North, Centre and South.
Eight of the 11 known kimberlite pipes at Merlin were mined by Rio Tinto and Ashton Mining between 1999 and 2003 producing 500,000 carats of diamonds from 2.2 million tonnes of treated kimberlite.
Each of the Merlin Kimberlites are named after a Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table; Gawain, Excalibur and Perceval to name a few.
In November 2023, Lucapa announced that the large scale Merlin Feasibility Study was on pause in favour of advancing an alternative study which focuses on a smaller scale, lower cost pathway to development. The finalisation of that study, which uses many of the existing modelling and workstreams is scheduled for 2024.
About the project
Exploration activities at Merlin have commenced to identify other kimberlite targets on the tenements.
The existing resource, which is based on Rio Tinto data, contains 27.8 million tonnes at an average grade of 16 carats per hundred tonnes for 4.4 million contained carats. Together, the mineral lease and exploration licence contain more than 70 reported but unresolved geophysical and geochemical anomalies, giving potential for further kimberlite discoveries.
MERLIN JORC CLASSIFIED DIAMOND RESOURCE — 31 DECEMBER 2022
LUCAPA 100% ATTRIBUTABLE
(i) Mineral Resource reported in Lucapa’s ASX announcement “Acquisition of Merlin Diamond Project and A$23M Capital Raising” on 24 May 2021. No changes to the resource have been made since.
(ii) Mineral Resource grades based on previous mining operations recovery using a +0.95mm slotted bottom screen and +50–1C cut-off;
(iii) Insufficient grade data available to determine +5DTC cut-off grade for Tristram and Bedevere pipes therefore full-cut-off grades are used;
(iv) Rounding of tonnage and carats may result in computational inaccuracies.
Merlin is home to Australia’s largest diamond which was recovered in 2002 from the Gareth pipe. The 104 carat Type IIa white diamond was cut into 26 individual polished diamonds.
Mine to market
Largest diamond to be recovered in Australia
The largest diamond ever recovered in Australia was from the Gareth Pipe at the Merlin Mine in March 2002. It was given the name “Jungiila Bunajina” by the Traditional Owners, which means
“star meteorite dreaming stone”.
The “Jungiila Bunajina” diamond
was sold and cut and polished into
26 separate diamonds of varying
shapes and sizes.