Fire at Dominion Diamond Mine Ignites Caution as Share Price Falls

Mining and Exploration
01/07/2016 12:30

Dominion Diamond Corporation's stock price has taken a hit due to the temporary closure of its processing plant at the Ekati mine, reports Canada's CSC. On Wednesday, Dominion announced that repairs at Ekati's processing plant after a fire last week will take three months. The fire broke out in the plant on June 23 during a planned outage. No one was injured and the fire was extinguished the same day. As of Wednesday night, Dominion Diamond's stock had fallen nearly 11 per cent since the news of the fire broke. While some may look to the 'Brexit' for an explanation of falling stock prices, industry analyst Paul Zimnisky attributes "almost all" of the drop in stock price to the fire and news of the processing plant shutdown. "It's definitely going to affect the bottom line," he said. "Initially when I heard the news I was hoping it was only going to be a couple days or at most a few weeks of outage. So I think three months is definitely significant enough to impact earnings for the quarter and for the year." Dominion Diamond's stock has fallen nearly 39 per cent since this time last year. 

In their news release, Dominion Diamond said it will be cutting costs during the plant's closure. It also announced it will be temporarily laying off some workers, but isn't saying how many people will be laid off or for how long. "The Company has begun to execute a plan to reduce operating and capital costs during this time, which will include an adjustment of mining operations to pause mining at lower priority and lower value ore bodies, a deferral of non-essential sustaining capital, and a temporary layoff of affected staff across the Company." Zimnisky said many investors had high hopes for the company this year because it was ramping up production with the recently completed expansion of its Misery pipe. But the processing of diamonds from that pipe will now have to be pushed back three months. "It's essentially going to be a lost quarter of production for this calendar year. However the company also has the Diavik mine which is unaffected by this," Zimnisky said. "But I think the most important take away is that this is temporary. It's not permanent."