Dominion Diamond Corp. reports that production from the Diavik Diamond Mine for the fourth calendar quarter of 2016 ended 10% higher than in the same quarter of the prior year, reflecting higher processing volumes that were partly offset by lower recovered grade. Under a joint arrangement, Rio Tinto operates the mine and Dominion Diamond pays 40 percent of the mine’s operating and capital costs while receiving 40 percent of the mine’s diamond output. Processing volumes in Q4 2016 were 16% higher than in the same quarter of the prior year due to the extended planned maintenance shutdown in the processing plant in Q4 calendar 2015. Diavik Diamond Mines (2012) Inc., a subsidiary of Rio Tinto which operates the mine, recovered 6.7 million carats at Diavik in Q4 after processing 0.54 million tons. The volume of carats recovered represents a 4% increase over calendar year 2015, but ended 4% lower than the revised calendar 2016 plan of 6.9 million carats. Lower-than-expected diamond recovery reflected lower grades due to underground dilution, which resulted from granite sloughing from the walls of the open pit.
A new mine plan and budget for calendar 2017 is under review by Rio Tinto preliminarily projects processing 2.0 - 2.2 tons of material and recovering 7.1 - 7.6 milion carats. Dominion's 40% share of production at Diavik left them with 660,000 carats recovered in Q4, for an annual recovery of 2.66 million carats. Dominion has yet to report its fourth quarter figures from its Ekati Mine.