DIAVIK DIAMOND MINES INC. hosted official ceremonies on Saturday, July 19, to commemorate the opening of Canada's second diamond producer. Under brilliant sunny skies, 250 guests admired the $1.3-billion investment belonging to RIO TINTO PLC (60%) and ABER DIAMOND CORP (40%). The guests included representatives of the federal and territorial governments, Aboriginal leaders, the local community, the media and many others.
The opening of this new mine is a superb accomplishment, and the new project is a welcome neighbour of the Ekati diamond mine, also near Lac de Gras, 300 km northeast of Yellowknife, NWT. Diavik production will peak at over 6 million ct/year and the owners anticipate a life of 20 years. Its workforce of about 500 will be among the best-paid in the North. Many of the diamonds from the new mine will be cut and polished by new businesses in Yellowknife.
People lucky enough to have attended the opening at the mine site toured the award-winning A154 dike and open pit. They also saw various other mine buildings, the maintenance/administrative facility, the diamond recovery plant, the accommodations complex. The ceremonies included speeches and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque by Aber president and CEO Bob Gannicott, Rio Tinto chief executive Leigh Clifford, and Northwest Territories MP the Hon. Ethel Blondin-Andrew.
The most excitement during the day, as always happens, was the opportunity to admire a display of Diavik diamonds. The sky may have been wide and brilliant, but it was eclipsed by the intense and solid icy brilliance of the stones. Any diamond can be beautiful, but these are breath-taking, especially so because of their Canadian origin.
We applaud our newest diamond producer and look forward to other companies completing similar projects successfully.