Fire repairs at Ekati mean temporary layoffs for staff

The Ekati diamond mine.
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Some staff at the Ekati diamond mine 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife will be laid off temporarily as repairs are made to the mine’s process plant.

Last week, a fire broke out during a planned outage, causing damage to a small area.

While there wasn’t any damage to the main structural components, repairs to the process plant are expected to take three months.

“Repairs to the plant are expected to take approximately three months, after which the plant is expected to resume operations at full capacity,” read a statement issued by Dominion Diamond Corporation Wednesday.

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Following an assessment, the company says it has come up with a plan to “reduce operating and capital costs during the shutdown” which includes laying off workers.

Meanwhile, ore that is mined during the shutdown will be stockpiled “with the intent to prioritize the processing of the highest value material when the plant resumes operations.”

Brendan Bell, Dominion Diamond’s CEO, says the company is taking a cautious approach.

“We are taking the most prudent course of action which delivers limited, ongoing mining of higher value ore, while also taking the necessary steps to make repairs and return to production and preserve capital,” he said.

Dominion says it will provide an update on production and cost expectations for the fiscal year in the coming week.

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