NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – With both the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines performing well, Toronto-based Dominion Diamond Corp. has outlined new mine plans that demonstrate synergies, cost savings and efficiencies made possible by integrating the two producers near Lac des Gras, 300 km northeast of Yellowknife.
The Ekati mining plan includes production from Fox, Misery, Pigeon and Lynx open pits, as well as the Koala and Koala North underground mines. Although the Koala North and Fox resources will be exhausted this year, the Ekati operation will continue into 2020. Plans call for producing 1.22 million ct in 2014. That number will diminish until the Misery and Pigeon pits reach commercial production; along with the Koala mine, they will produce 4.00 million ct in 2017, rising to a peak of 5.92 million ct in 2019.
Dominion has estimated pre-production capital expenses at Misery and Pigeon to total $406 million through 2017. Sustaining capital requirements through 2018 will amount to an additional $173 million. Closure cots are estimated at $347 million based on the current cost model.
Dominion holds 40% of the Diavik mine along with partner Rio Tinto plc (60%). It is an underground operations exploiting the A154S, A154N and A418 kimberlite pipes. The operation has a mine life extending to 2023, with the exhaustion of the A154S resources anticipated in 2020. On a 100% basis, Diavik is budgeted to produce 5.97 million ct in 2014, and the rate will be generally maintained until the A154S pipe is exhausted. The development of the A-21 pipe is under review, but no decision has been made.
Sustaining capital at the Diavik site is to be $52 million in 2014, and decline through 2020. Thereafter it will be about $2 million. Closure costs are estimated at $188 million based on the current model.
Current estimates for anticipated annual production by pipe, with associated operating costs and capital costs are available at DDCorp.ca in the news release dated Feb. 3, 2014.