NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - Australian mining powerhouse BHP Billiton has okayed the redevelopment of the Misery open pit at the Ekati diamond mine at Lac de Gras. The current project involves pushing back the limits of the Misery pit that was mined from 2011 to 2005.
Stripping is to begin in October 2011, and ore production in late 2015. Final production from the pit is expected in mid-2017. Capital spending is estimated to be US$323 million. Of that amount, US$29 million was spent in 2010 to enable long lead time equipment to be brought to the site on the 2011 winter road.
BHP Billiton (www.BHPBilliton.com) owns 80% of the Ekati mine and is the operator. The remainder is equally owned by Charles Fipke and Stu Blusson.