By Hannah Connorton
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories--Dominion Diamond Corp. plans to purchase C. Fipke Holdings Ltd.’s interests in Ekati’s core and buffer zones, meaning it now will own 90 percent of the diamond mine’s core zone.

Fipke Holdings will sell its 10 percent interest in the core zone for $50 million, as well as its 10 percent interest in the buffer zone for $17 million. Both prices are subject to adjustments that reflect joint venture contributions and distributions since June 30, 2012, including interest. 

Dominion Diamond bought the Ekati mine from BHP Billiton last year, a more than $500 million purchase that included diamond sorting and sales facilities in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and Antwerp.

The sale was part of BHP’s move to sell its diamond business, which included the sale of the Ekati mine and the company’s diamond marketing operations. 

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The sale of Fipke Holdings’ interest to Dominion Diamond would end Charles Fipke’s (of Fipke Holdings) remaining financial involvement in the mine. 

Fipke, born in Alberta, is one of two geologists who discovered kimberlite pipes north of Lac de Gras, which is located north of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada, in the 1980s. Their discovery included the Ekati mine, where operation began in 1998.

Fipke Co. holds a 10 percent participating interest in the Ekati mine buffer zone, with Dominion Diamond and Archon Minerals Ltd. holding 59 percent and 31 percent, respectively. The buffer zone consists of an adjacent area that hosts kimberlite pipes with both development and exploration potential, Dominion Diamond said.

The core zone, which includes the current operating mine and other permitted kimberlite pipes, has participating interest from Dominion Diamond (80 percent), Fipke Co. (10 percent) and Stewart Blusson (10 percent).  

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