The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Exceptional diamond, plant restarts at Ekati

Dominion Diamond Corp. Sept. 22 reported the restart of the process plant at its Ekati Mine and the sale of an exceptional diamond recovered at the Northwest Territories operation.

The Ekati process plant, which was damaged by a fire in June, resumed operations at full capacity on Sept.21.

During the three-month downtime, Dominion implemented an active management strategy designed to mitigate the impact of the fire on production and cash flow for the current fiscal year.

As part of this strategy, the company reduced operating and capital costs by deferring mining activities at the Lynx and Pigeon open pits, while continuing to mine and stockpile higher value ore from the Misery Main open pit and Koala underground.

The ore blend for the remainder of the current fiscal year is expected to be a blend of the higher value Misery Main and Koala ore of which about 750,000 metric tons was available in stockpile when the plant resumed operations.

The total cost of the process plant repairs is about US$15 million.

"We are very pleased the process plant repairs have been substantially completed ahead of schedule and below our original cost estimate," said Dominion CEO Brendan Bell.

"This is a testament to the outstanding skills and determined efforts of our team at Ekati.

Their contributions were instrumental in the development and implementation of our active management strategy which is expected to help minimize the impact of the fire on production and cash flows for this fiscal year." In June, Dominion recovered a 186-carat gem-quality diamond from the Pigeon kimberlite.

The exceptional stone - the largest gem-quality diamond ever recovered at Ekati - sold for US$2.8 million at the company's most recent sale.

"The Ekati mine is renowned for its premium gem quality diamonds," said Bell.

"We are particularly encouraged that this exceptional stone was recovered during the processing of ore mined from the early benches of the Pigeon open pit.

The recovery of a gem-quality stone of this size is a reminder that there continues to be upside potential to the modeled prices used for our Ekati ore bodies."

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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