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Rio Tinto becomes sole owner of Diavik Diamond Mine

Rio Tinto announced Thursday it has completed a transaction to acquire Dominion Diamond Mine’s 40 per cent share of Diavik Diamond Mine, located about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

Diavik scheduled to shut down in 2025

The Diavik Diamond Mine on the edge of N.W.T.'s Lac de Gras. Rio Tinto is now the sole owner of the mine, which is scheduled to shut down in 2025. (Rio Tinto)

Rio Tinto is now the sole owner of one of Canada's biggest diamond mines.

The company announced Thursday it has completed a transaction to acquire Dominion Diamond Mine's 40 per cent share of Diavik Diamond Mine, located about 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

The transaction was approved by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta on Tuesday.

In a news release, Rio Tinto said it acquired all remaining Diavik assets held by Dominion, including unsold Diavik production and cash collateral held as security for Diavik's future closure costs. 

"In return, Rio Tinto has released Dominion and its lenders from all outstanding liabilities and obligations to fund the operations or closure of the joint venture," it read.

The transaction comes after Rio Tinto previously indicated it was not interested in any part of Dominion Diamond Mines.

Dominion Diamond Mines filed for insolvency protection in April 2020

The two companies then became entangled in a lawsuit over the mine's operating costs.

A spokesperson from Rio Tinto told CBC News in an email that Diavik "continues to operate as normal."

NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines executive director Tom Hoefer says the timing of the transaction is good for Rio Tinto because the diamond market is rebounding again after a "big COVID hit last year."

"This gives [Rio Tinto] 100 per cent control of the sale of the stones and of course, they're 100 per cent responsible for cleaning up the mine site which is a work in progress as we speak," he said.

The mine is scheduled to close in 2025.

In the release, Rio Tinto's chief executive of minerals Sinead Kaufman was quoted as saying Diavik will "now move forward with certainty" while "making a significant contribution to the Northwest Territories."

The development comes a week before Diavik president and chief operating officer Richard Storrie is scheduled to deliver an update on the Diavik Mine at a virtual geoscience forum organised by the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, the government of the Northwest Territories and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.  

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story said Rio Tinto's chief executive Sinead Kaufman is scheduled to deliver an update on Diavik mine at a geoscience forum next week. In fact, Diavik president and chief operating officer Richard Storrie is scheduled to deliver the update.
    Nov 18, 2021 4:11 PM CT

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