Rio Tinto reaches 100 million carats milestone at the Diavik diamond mine

Rio Tinto, the operator of the Diavik diamond mine in Canada, has announced a major milestone of producing 100 million carats of rough diamonds since the mine commenced in 2003.

Rio Tinto Diamonds, Salt & Uranium managing director Simon Trott said “We are delighted to reach this milestone and I am enormously proud of the teams who have helped make this happen safely and responsibly in some of the harshest operating conditions in the world.”

The Diavik diamond mine, located on an island in a remote sub-arctic lake, is Canada’s largest diamond mine. The mine produces predominantly gem quality diamonds destined for high end jewellery in all major consumer markets around the world.

Diavik diamond mines president and chief operating officer Marc Cameron said “Strong and respectful partnerships are at the heart of the way we work at Diavik and I would like to thank all of our investors, our community, business and government partners, and our workforce for their support over the past 13 years.

“This production milestone is especially gratifying given our strong safety record, our focus on ethics and the environment, and an unwavering commitment to delivering substantial and lasting benefits to all of our stakeholders.”

Right from the beginning local communities have been widely consulted about the operation and impact of the Diavik diamond mine. This engagement has led to the development of considerable employment, training and capacity building opportunities.

Approximately half of the mine’s 1100 employees live in Canada’s north and one quarter of Diavik’s workforce is Aboriginal. Since 2003, C$6.8 billion has been spent on goods and services to support the mine, of which over 70 per cent is with local firms many of which are Aboriginal-owned.

In 2014, the development of a fourth pipe at Diavik, known as A21, was approved. Development of the A21 pipe, which was part of the original mine plan, is estimated to cost US$350 million over four years and is an important source of incremental production. Production from A21 is expected to commence in 2018.