Even Wemindji’s diamonds didn’t set off this kind of rush to stake and claim the area. Aston Mining and Soquem Inc said in a report that a 205-kilogram sample from exploration at Otish Mountain yielded 5 macro and 54 micro diamonds. Another 163-kilogram sample saw 29 macro and 116 micro diamonds.

This was exciting enough to have people and mining companies stake more than 5,000 claims in a 28,000 square-kilometre area. A regular year sees about 50,000 claims registered in Quebec. The three-week run on the Otish represents 10 per cent of the annual average, showing the interest and speed in which people are responding to this find.

Many analysts are saying this will provide ajumpstart for mining exploration, which hasn’t been doing well.

Of course further work has to be done before anyone actually starts up a mine but people are saying that initial results are much like the findings that led to the diamond mines in the NWT.

According to Marlene MacKinnon of the Mistissini Geological Centre, the interest in diamonds is high because metals such as gold, platinum and cadmium have all declined in value. She said that the number of claims should bring a lot of work in exploration. “SOQUEM hired people from Mistissini to work with them last year so we are hopeful this will bring employment for the 2002 exploration season,” MacKinnon said.

The claims have to be shown as being developed to some extent in two years to keep the claims in good standing.

New Years’ Rumble A No-Go It was a shock to some Mistissini residents to hear Chief John Longchap warning people about the possibility of violence on New Years’ Eve over the local community radio station. Apparently there are two gangs in Mistissini. Police were ready for the evening deputizing eight people to assist in patrolling on New Years Eve. Thankfully the rumoured fight didn’t happen as cooler heads within the gangs didn’t feel that the open violence would help anybody. The police were prepared and were thankful nothing occurred to disturb the peace.