Australia-based mining company Rio Tinto has taken full ownership of Diavik diamond mine, ending an 19-month legal battle with the mine’s previous owner, Dominion Diamond Mines.
Rio Tinto acquired 40 per cent of the shares held by Dominion after the transaction was recently approved by the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, when the latter filed for insolvency protection in April last year under the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
“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,” Sinead Kaufman, chief executive officer, Rio Tinto Minerals said.
“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.”
Rio Tinto now owns all remaining assets listed under Dominion, including unsold mine production and security cash collateral held to cover future closure costs.
In exchange, Dominion has been released of its liabilities from lenders and obligations in funding the mine’s operations, as well as costs incurred for the closure of the joint venture.
Dominion was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that caused the closure of many mining operations and diamond sales.
The mine, located in the Northwest Territories, is the fourth largest diamond producer in the world and began operations in 2003 producing high-end, white gem quality diamonds with Canadian provenance, and which have been in strong demand among consumers.
Last year, Diavik produced 6.2 million carats of rough diamonds and expects to yield 3 to 3.8 million carats this year.
Diamond production in Diavik is expected to end in 2025.
Video by SciNews, 2014