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Dominion Diamond updates Ekati, forecasts production and prices

by Greg Klein | July 21, 2014

Dominion Diamond updates Ekati, forecasts production and prices

With interests in two mines in the NWT’s Lac de Gras region,
Dominion is the world’s third-largest diamond miner by value.


An updated plan for Ekati forecasts Canada’s original diamond mine producing over 20 million carats between 2015 and 2020. Released by Dominion Diamond TSX:DDC on July 21, the report precedes an updated reserve estimate expected later this year for the Lac de Gras-region mine in the Northwest Territories.

The plan breaks down output for four deposits in Ekati’s Core zone, totalling 19.18 million carats from fiscal 2015 to 2020. Processing from the mined-out Fox deposit would end in 2016, the same year mining would begin in the Misery and Pigeon deposits. Misery would produce 12.28 million carats of the cumulative total by 2020.

An additional 850,000 carats between fiscal 2017 and 2019 would come from the Lynx deposit on Ekati’s Buffer zone.

Dominion also released an initial resource for two Misery satellites, both in the inferred category. Misery South showed:

  • 900,000 tonnes averaging 1 carat per tonne for 900,000 carats

The Misery Southwest extension showed:

  • 3 million tonnes averaging 1.3 ct/t for 5 million carats

Plant improvements have achieved a 15% increase in recovery, Dominion added. The company also outlined plans to extract diamonds from coarse ore rejects that began piling up when Ekati opened in 1998. The mine’s total reserves and resources fall short of the plant’s annual capacity of 4.35 million tonnes.

Rough diamond prices forecast by the company rated most Ekati deposits well above world averages. Different sources vary on the global average, citing figures ranging from about $100 to $130 per carat, the latter provided by Paul Zimnisky in March. But, based on Q1 sales, Dominion’s forecasted rough diamond averages came to $395 for Koala, $440 for Koala North, $315 for Fox, $200 for Pigeon, $235 for Lynx, $105 for Misery Main, $90 for Misery South and SW, $65 to $120 for coarse ore rejects and $70 to $100 for small diamonds now recovered through plant improvements.

By value, the company is the world’s third-largest rough diamond producer.

Dominion currently holds 80% of Ekati’s Core zone and 58.8% of Buffer. But earlier this month the company announced its intention to buy out Ekati co-discoverer Chuck Fipke, whose company holds 10% each of Core and Buffer. Fipke’s teammate in the discovery, Stewart Blusson, retains 10% of Core, while Archon Minerals TSXV:ACS has 31.2% of Buffer.

As well, Dominion holds a 40% interest in the Diavik mine, also in the Lac de Gras region, while a Rio Tinto NYE:RIO subsidiary holds the rest. Dominion sorts its share of diamonds from both mines in Yellowknife, Toronto and Mumbai, India. The rough diamonds then go to market through Dominion’s Belgian and Indian subsidiaries.


Read more about diamond mining and exploration in Canada:

  • A bourse marks its course: The Diamond Bourse of Canada wants to encourage secondary industry while enhancing our global stature

Disclaimer: Prima Diamond Corp is a client of OnPage Media Corp, the publisher of The principals of OnPage Media may hold shares in Prima Diamond.

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