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Public offering response bodes well for Big Red (06/04)

By ANDREW WAREING With diamonds a major source of exploration in Northern Ontario, Big Red Diamond Corp. (BRDC) has gone public to help finance its explorations in the Attawapiskat area.


With diamonds a major source of exploration in Northern Ontario, Big Red Diamond Corp. (BRDC) has gone public to help finance its explorations in the Attawapiskat area.

Françoise Desrosiers, president and CEO of Big Red Diamond Corp. , says the company went public in March with an offering of 4.5 million units consisting of one full share and one-half warrant for trade on the TSX-Venture exchange. The initial offering was for 70 cents per unit and by late

April, stocks were trading at around $1.08 per share.

If these explorations should sound familiar, it is because properties owned by BRDC and in joint venture with Charles Fipke, the discoverer of the Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories, surround De Beers’ Victor diamond play.

“Since May of 2001, we have invested more than $8 million in exploration in diamond exploration in the far north of Ontario,” says Desrosiers. “We have been the logistical part of that joint venture.

“Some of our properties are as little away as one kilometre from Victor, and we’ve got 6,000 square kilometres in the Attawapiskat region, he says.

“For the last year and a half, we’ve had 20 people on site winter and summer doing diamond exploration. We have mostly people from the Timmins and Cochrane region.”

Desrosiers says the fact the offering was grabbed up is indicative of public confidence in the company and its portfolio of exploration projects, as well as strong indication of the interest in Canadian diamonds.

“Over the last four years, diamond exploration has been at the forefront of mineral exploration in Canada,” Desrosiers says. “What assisted us in our exploration was our association with Mr. an internationally renowned geologist; you couldn’t ask for a better name to be involved in your exploration. He was impressed with our land position that brought him to our table. He was looking at our area and every piece of land he looked at, we owned.”

It is this interest in diamonds from Canada that has driven a lot of the exploration in the region, he says. Part of their attraction is the diamonds that have been found have been of high quality. In addition, they also are considered “bloodless,” unlike diamonds that come from some politically unstable parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world where diamonds have been used to purchase weapons for revolution.

Big Red Diamond’s property is located on a corridor of approximately 700-million-year-old volcanic deposits that stretch from Baffin Island to Brockville and Belleville. It is estimated that Canada is the third-largest diamond producer in the world, after Russia and Africa.

Desrosiers says the company is planning about $4 million in exploration on properties, including the Smooth Rock Falls and Coral Rapids areas, which include potential diamond discoveries and a possible high-grade copper deposit. Further announcements are planned.

“Depending on the results, that (exploration) might be ramped up substantially, especially if we have to go to a bulk sample,” he says. “The joint venture has discovered a couple of gem-quality diamonds in the less-than-one-carat size and that usually indicates you’ve got something interesting.”

No further offerings are planned in the short term. However, there is the possibility other offerings may take place if the need to finance further exploration warrants it, he says.

Desrosiers says it would likely start with institutional investment companies before a public offering was made.

“That would depend on how much needs to be raised and the timing of when we need to raise it,” he says.