A magnetic survey image of one of the larger clusters, which a news release says could be up to 18 hectares. Image courtesy canalaska.com

The West Athabasca Basin De Beers Diamond Project drilling program is officially underway.

A drill rig in the area was in operation as early as last weekend, with two holes already dug.

Those first two samples, taken from the extreme west area of the project, were not promising, according to a CanAlaska Uranium news release. De Beers and CanAlaska are partnering for exploration in the area. The drilling did not intersect kimberlite.

The total drilling between September and October will focus on 11 different targets in the central and western portion of the project, with 20 workers setting up camp in the Carswell Lake area.

A second drill rig will be shipped in over the next few days.

De Beers spent the latter half of the summer assessing earlier surveying work of possible kimberlite sites; kimberlite is a diamond-containing rock.

Magnetic anomalies are tells for kimberlite, but drilling is needed to verify if it actually is kimberlite. The drill core will be studied at De Beers’ facilities throughout the winter months.

The De Beers plan to drill into the possible diamond-containing rocks in the Athabasca Basin will largely take place after freeze- up.

That’s because most of its 85 total possible targets are below lakes and swamps.

De Beers kicked off its seven-year exploration agreement with CanAlaska Uranium in June, in which De Beers can earn in to the West Athabasca Diamond Project by carrying out a series of work programs.