Peregrine Falls as De Beers Declines to Exercise Option

Canadian gem explorer Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. dropped the most ever after it said De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer, won’t exercise its right to acquire control of the Chidliak project in the Canadian Arctic.

Peregrine plunged 35 percent to 43 cents at the close in Toronto, the biggest decline since the shares were listed in January 2006.

Peregrine was verbally notified by De Beers of its decision regarding Chidliak, the Vancouver-based company said today in a statement.

De Beers, a unit of Anglo American Plc, had the right to form a joint venture with Peregrine that would have given it a 50.1 percent stake in Chidliak. Under the terms of the venture, De Beers would have helped fund a feasibility study of the diamond project.

Chidliak is located 120 kilometers (75 miles) from Iqaluit, the capital of Canada’s Nunavut territory. The final results of an evaluation of the mine’s ore are expected in the first quarter, Peregrine said today.

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