The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Mining Explorers 2016: Dominion Diamond Corp.

Dominion Diamond Corp. sorts and sells diamonds it receives through its substantial interests in the world-class Ekati and Diavik mines in Northwest Territories about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of Yellowknife.

The company operates the Ekati Diamond Mine through an 88.9 percent ownership of the project's Core zone as well as a 65.3 percent ownership in the Buffer zone. As of the end of April, Dominion's share of the reserves at Ekati was 110.8 million carats of diamonds, enough to keep the mine in operation into 2033.

Most of the reserves are found at Jay, a deposit the company approved for construction in July. Assuming the completion of early works permitting in 2016, Dominion plans to begin mining and processing Jay kimberlite by late 2022.

The Ekati mine suffered a setback in June, when a fire damaged the processing plant. The recovery plant was down for three months and costed about US$15 million to repair.

2016 exploration at Ekati focused on the deep drilling below the Fox kimberlite open pit.

Going into 2016, 35.2 million metric tons of indicated resources averaging 0.3 carats per metric ton (11.5 million carats) diamonds had been identified below the Fox pit.

This year's drilling aims to gain a better understanding of the grade of material below this resource, with the hope that grades will increase at depth. Some 925 metric tons of samples have been recovered from the Fox deep drilling program and results are due before the end of the year.

Dominion also owns a 40 percent stake in the Diavik Mine. In 2014, Rio Tinto plc, which holds a 60 percent interest in the mine, approved development of A-21, a kimberlite pipe with 10 million carats of diamonds. Production from A-21 is slated for late 2018. This pipe is currently expected to deliver ore to the mill at Diavik for six years.

Dominion also holds a 55 percent joint venture interest Lac de Gras, a large diamond exploration property located roughly 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Ekati and about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) southwest of Diavik. Dominion approved a C$1.3 million 2016 exploration budget for Lac de Gras. This work included data compilation, airborne geophysical surveys and ground work. As a result of fully funding this program, Dominion's interest in the JV is expected to increase to 61 percent. The company is also re-evaluating data from historical exploration at Glowworm Lake, a large exploration property that lies east of Ekati and is fully owned by Dominion.

In September, Dominion sold its downtown Toronto office building for C$84.8 million. The company also sold a 186 carat gem quality diamond recovered from the Pigeon kimberlite at Ekati for US$2.8 million.



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