Operations

Our flagship assets – the Ekati Diamond Mine and the Diavik Diamond Mine – are two of the world's highest rock value diamond mines. Diamonds are produced from a number of kimberlite pipes, providing a diversity of supply and reduced operational risk.

Ekati Mine

The Ekati mine is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. Open pit operations started in August 1998, and the mine officially opened in October of that year. Cumulative production to January 2017 has totalled approximately 67.8 million carats.

The reserves base case mine plan is based on production from six kimberlite pipes:  Misery Main, Pigeon, Sable, Lynx and Jay open pits, and Koala underground operations. Currently, Pigeon, Lynx, and the high-value Misery Main and Koala pipes are being mined.

Fiscal 2017 Highlights

  • Recovered 5.2 million carats from 2.9 million tonnes processed. Processing volumes were 19% lower as compared to fiscal 2016 due to the extended shutdown following the process plant fire.
  • Cash cost per tonne processed decreased to $67.5 per tonne from $87.3 per tonne in fiscal 2016. Despite the decrease in total tonnes processed as a result of the process plant fire, strong processing volumes during the period the process plant was operating resulted in lower cash costs per tonne.
  • The largest gem quality diamond produced to date at the mine – a 186-carat diamond from the Pigeon pit – was recovered and sold in September 2016.

Diavik Mine

In production since 2003, the Diavik mine is Canada’s largest diamond mine in terms of carat production. The mine is operated by Diavik Diamond Mines (2012) Inc., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto plc. Dominion receives 40% of the diamond production from the Diavik mine and pays 40% of the mine’s operating and capital costs.

Three high-grade kimberlite pipes are currently being mined: A-154 South, A-154 North, and A-418. A fourth pipe, A-21, is currently in development with the first kimberlite production anticipated by the end of 2018.

Calendar 2016 Highlights

  • Diavik mine (100% basis) recovered 6.7 million carats from 2.2 million tonnes processed. Carats recovered were 4% lower than the revised calendar 2016 plan of 6.9 million carats, due to lower recovered grade as a result of higher levels of underground dilution encountered in the A-418 and A-154 South kimberlite pipes.
  • Cash cost per tonne processed decreased to $135 per tonne from $152.4 per tonne in fiscal 2016, and total cost per tonne processed decreased to $224.6 per tonne from $250.3 per tonne in fiscal 2016, in both cases reflecting relatively stable production costs over a greater number of tonnes processed in fiscal 2017.
  • An updated technical report was filed for the Diavik mine on March 31, 2017, which demonstrated improved economics and supported an extension of the mine life from 2023 to 2025.
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