Dominion Diamond Acquires BHP Billiton’s Ekati Interest
On March 26, Dominion Diamond had announced the sale of its luxury brand dia-mond jewelry and timepiece division, Harry Winston, Inc., to The Swatch Group Ltd. As part of the transaction, the com-pany changed its name to Dominion Diamond Corp. from Harry Winston Dia-mond Corp. The sale and name change completed the transformation of the com-pany into a focused diamond mining com-pany. With the acquisition of BHP Billiton’s Ekati interest, Dominion Dia-mond now holds an 80% operating inter-est in Ekati and a 40% interest in the Diavik diamond mine, which is also locat-ed in the Northwest Territories.
Commenting on the Ekati purchase, Dominion Diamond Chairman and CEO Robert A. Gannicott said, “We are very pleased to be able to bring our northern mining background and diamond market-ing skills to bear on a project that is well constructed, well-operated and well-endowed with resources that represent a promising future for shareholders, employees and northern stakeholders.”
The total purchase price for BHP Billiton’s Ekati interest was $553 million. Dominion Diamond said it would soon issue a detailed mine plan for Ekati.
The Ekati diamond mine is located 310 km northeast of Yellowknife and includes both open-pit and underground operations. It was Canada’s first diamond mine, having begun production in 1998, and remains Canada’s largest diamond mine. The mine is located near the Diavik diamond mine, where Rio Tinto is 60% owner.