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Australia-based Burgundy Diamond Mines has agreed to pay $136 million to acquire Arctic Canadian Diamond Company Ltd. and its prized Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
Ekati’s new owner was very familiar with the Canadian mining operation. For the past two years, Burgundy has been purchasing top-quality rough diamonds — including extremely rare fancy yellows — from the Ekati mine for cutting and polishing at its facility in Perth, Australia.
Burgundy’s purchase of Ekati will guarantee a steady flow of premium material from a tier-one asset in a tier-one country, according to Burgundy CEO Kim Trutter, and put a bow on the company’s strategy of becoming truly vertically integrated across the diamond value chain.
“Having been involved with Burgundy since 2017, this exciting acquisition completes Burgundy’s vertically integrated business model: bringing the world’s most beautiful diamonds to market from discovery through to design,” Burgundy Diamond Mines executive chair Michael O’Keefe told miningnewsnorth.com.
“Source of origin of diamonds is becoming very, very important,” Rory Moore, president and CEO of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. “Canadian diamonds are highly sought after because they come with a guarantee of ethical mining practices, both in terms of treatment of people as well as the environment.”
The recapitalization of Arctic Canadian is also great news for the 1,100 workers at Ekati, and bodes well for the extended lifespan of the mine, which has been operating for nearly 25 years.
Ekati’s famous Misery Pipe has been the source of many of the world’s finest precious yellow diamonds. Ekati, which derives its name from the Tlicho word meaning “fat lake,” is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. It is located approximately 300 km northwest of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Accessible seasonally via ice roads, the frigid operation is just 200 km south of the Arctic Circle.
In 2022, Ekati generated $494 million in revenue and recovered 4.1 million carats of rough diamonds.
Miningnewsnorth.com estimated Ekati’s diamond reserves at approximately 26.1 million carats, a number that does not include diamonds that might be salvaged via an innovative underwater remote mining system developed by Arctic Canadian and expected to be deployed by Burgundy.
That system would employ a submersible mining crawler and floating platform that would collect and process diamond-bearing kimberlite from the bottom of previously mined open pits that have since filled with water.
Burgundy will also implement applied machine learning technology (artificial intelligence) to identify and explore new kimberlite pipes on the Ekati property, which spans 113,485 hectares.
Credits: Images courtesy of Arctic Canadian Diamond Company.