Rio Tinto has made $40 million investment in the first phase of underground mining below the existing A21 open pit at its Diavik Diamond Mine which started commercial production in 2018 in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Diavik mine, Canada’s largest mine produces on the order of 6.5 million carats (+/-) of rough diamonds per year and has unearthed more than 100 million carats since its opening.
The company estimates that with the updated mine plan and production schedule including the A154N and A154S pipes, and subsequent petition and approval of the second phase of the A21 underground project, Diavik is is projected to cease commercial production in the first quarter of 2026.
Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Minerals said: “Rio Tinto’s decision to support the underground development of the A21 pipe was prefaced on compelling industry fundamentals, our proven capacity to safely develop diamond mines in extreme conditions and a track record in competing successfully in the global diamond industry. This is good news for our employees, partners, suppliers and local communities in the Northwest Territories.”
Phase 1 of underground mining of Diavik’s A21 pipe is expected to deliver an additional 1.4 million carats of rough diamonds. Current employees and contractors will be transitioned from other areas of the mine for both the construction and production phases of the project.
Diavik expects to petition for approval of Phase 2 plans for the A21 underground project in the first half of 2024. Phase 2 is expected to deliver an additional 0.8 million carats of rough diamonds.
Source: Rio Tinto
Photo Credit: Rio Tinto