Sourcing

Rio Tinto Opens New Diamond Pipe at Diavik

SourcingAug 22, 2018

Rio Tinto Opens New Diamond Pipe at Diavik

The diamond mining news comes after a four-year construction period and $350 million investment.

The Diavik diamond mine produced this 187.7-carat rough diamond; it is the largest diamond ever found in North America. This week, Rio Tinto announced the opening of a fourth pipe at the mine that it says will be an important source of supply for the next four years.

London—In its latest diamond mining news, Rio Tinto has announced the opening of a fourth diamond pipe at the subarctic Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

The new open-pit pipe, known as A21, will be an important source for incremental supply for the next four years, the company said, so it is able to sustain production levels at the site.

The pipe is adjacent to Diavik’s existing mining operations at Lac de Gras.

The first ore from the site was delivered in March, and the pit is expected to be at full production during the fourth quarter of 2018.

This follows a four-year construction period and investment of about $350 million from Rio Tinto and joint venture partner Dominion Diamond Corporation, which Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds CEO Arnaud Soirat said reflects the “strong outlook” they see for the diamond industry.

“It is a remarkable achievement to deliver this project safely and ahead of time in such a challenging environment, positioning Diavik to continue meeting the demand for its outstanding diamonds,” he said.

The company celebrated the opening of A21 at an event held Monday, with Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment with the Government of the Northwest Territories, as the guest of honor. Also in attendance were indigenous community representatives, joint venture partners and Rio Tinto employees.

The Diavik diamond mine is located 300 kilometers (about 186 miles) northeast of Yellowknife, the capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories. It began production in 2003 and has been a fully underground mining operation since 2012, producing predominantly gem-quality diamonds.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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