To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm optimistic about the prospect of Diamond presence on Malaita Island: Australian Geochemist

An Australian Isotope Geochemist, Professor Ken Collerson, has said there is great prospect of the presence of mineral Diamond on Malaita Island.

This projection was made in a scientific presentation to the Solomon Islands Government yesterday.

Professor Collerson from the University of Queensland who made the presentation told Government he is optimistic about the presence of diamond and other minerals because of his earlier finding about the presence of micro diamond in rocks obtained from Malaita in early 2000.

In widespread publications in May 2000, Professor Ken Collerson and his colleagues asserted that a sample collected from Malaita is a piece of rock that has never ever been seen before on earth. It was a piece of the earth's mantle transition zone which occurs somewhere between 400 to 670 kilometres down below the earth's surface.

A paper about the rock collections from Malaita, written by Professor Collerson, research fellow Dr Balz Kamber and PhD student Sarath Hapugoda was also published in the May 19 2000 edition of the prestigious international journal Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Their co-researcher was Dr Quentin Williams, a specialist in mineral physics, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of California in Santa Cruz.

The discovery won the researchers world-wide attention, and rivals Professor Collerson's discovery of the world's oldest mantle rocks, the 3.9 billion-year-old rocks from northern Labrador in Canada, which was published in the British journal Nature in 1991.

In an interview after his publication in the journal Science was released in May 19 2000, Professor Collerson suggested that his discovery opened a new opportunity in exploration as previous exploration for diamonds was largely concentrated in the continental regions rather than in the oceanic regions. With the case of Malaita, the rock was essentially continental deep mantle material coming up through what is only an oceanic environment which indicates that the diamond source and the diamond bearing materials are coming from the deep upper mantle.

Meanwhile during the meeting yesterday, Minister for Mines and Energy, Edward Huni'ehu says Government is very anxious this find could lead to long term economic benefits not only to Malaita Province but Solomon islands as a whole.

Mr Huni'ehu says his Ministry would work on a paper seeking Cabinet approval to kick start the process of exploring the potential of the existence of minerals including diamond on the island of Malaita.

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