NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – BHP Billiton is selling its diamond business, including the Ekati mine at Lac de Gras, to Harry Winston Diamond Corp. of Toronto. The deal is worth US$500 million, and it should close in Q1 2013.
With production beginning in October 1998, the Ekati mine is Canada's first diamond mine. For the purposes of this sale, it consists of the Core zone, which includes the current operating mine and other permitted kimberlite pipes, as well as the Buffer zone, an adjacent area hosting kimberlite pipes having both development and exploration potential. Harry Winston is paying US$400 for the Core zone and US$100 million for the Buffer zone interest.
BHP Billiton owns 80% of the Ekati mine. Charles E. Fipke (10%) and Stu Blusson (10%) have 60 days to exercise their pre-emptive rights and purchase BHP Billtion's stake for themselves. The sale to Harry Winston is subject to the expiration or waiver of these rights and other regulatory conditions.
Harry Winston also has a 40% indirect interest in the Diavik diamond mine, near Lac de Gras. Its partner there is Rio Tinto. Learn more at Diavik.com.