One of Canada’s largest diamond mines is now solely owned by Rio Tinto.
The global mining company has completed a transaction to acquire Dominion Diamond Mine’s 40 per cent share of Diavik Diamond Mine, located about 300 km northeast of Yellowknife.
Under the terms of the transaction, Rio Tinto has 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,” the company said in a statement.
The transaction was approved by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Rio Tinto reports.
“Diavik will now move forward with certainty to continue supplying customers with high quality, responsibly sourced Canadian diamonds and making a significant contribution to the Northwest Territories of Canada and local communities,” says Rio Tinto Minerals chief executive, Sinead Kaufman. “As owner and operator, Rio Tinto is committed to delivering Diavik’s eventual closure safely and responsibly, to leave a positive legacy in consultation with our community and government partners.”
In July 2020, Dominion filed a civil lawsuit against Rio Tinto, citing breach of contract among other claims.
Rio Tinto has operated Diavik since production commenced in 2003. The mine employs more than 1100 employees, of which 17 per cent are Northern Indigenous people, the company says. In 2020, the site produced 6.2 million carats of rough diamonds.