By Gary Park 

DeBeers, Inco join forces to hunt for gems, metals in Canada Far North


Last updated 1/30/2005 at Noon

De Beers and Inco, world powers in the diamond and nickel industries, have linked up to explore for gems and base metals on Baffin Island in Canada's Far North.

The two companies signed a precedent-setting, two-year agreement Jan. 19 to share exploration data and possibly property rights. Each is entitled to a 100 percent ownership of any discovery of either's core commodity: Diamonds for De Beers and base metals for Inco.

Ownership of any other type of mineral find would be shared equally.

De Beers, which has one diamond mine in the Northwest Territories, has been exploring for diamonds in Nunavut's Baffin Island over the past five years. Inco is not currently exploring on the island.

Richard Molyneux, president and chief executive officer of De Beers Canada Exploration, said the two companies hope the efficiencies and synergies will assist the joint exploration efforts.

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An Inco spokesman said the pact will allow Inco to extend its exploration at "very low cost" into what is normally a high-cost region.

He noted that the geologists who discovered the huge nickel deposit at Voisey's Bay in northern Labrador were actually hunting for diamonds.


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