Ekati processing plant resumes operations following June fire

The Ekati diamond mine, located roughly 310 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. Photo supplied.
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The processing plant at the Ekati diamond mine resumed operations Wednesday, three months after a fire resulted in a major slowdown.

The plant had been offline since June 23 when a fire broke out during a planned outage.

RELATED: Fire repairs at Ekati mean temporary layoffs for staff

Shortly after the incident, Dominion Diamond Corporation said repairs would take approximately three months at a cost of $25 million.

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On Thursday, the company announced that repair costs came in below original estimates – just shy of $20 million.

While the plant was offline, Dominion “implemented an active management strategy designed to mitigate the impact of the fire on production and cash flow,” read a statement issued by the company.

That meant reducing operating costs by deferring mining activities at the Lynx and Pigeon open pits while continuing to mine and stockpile higher value ore from the Misery Main open pit and Koala underground.

The company also issued temporary layoffs notices to some 300 workers but started bringing staff back earlier this month.

By the time plant operations resumed this week, Dominion says it had stockpiled 750,000 tonnes of high grade ore.

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‘Exceptional’ stone sells for $3.7 million Canadian

Dominion also announced Thursday that the largest diamond ever found at Ekati recently sold for $3.7 million Canadian.

The 186 carat diamond was sold in September after being recovered in June.

“The Ekati mine is world-renowned for its premium gem quality diamonds,” said CEO Brendan Bell in a statement.

“The recovery of a gem quality stone of this size is a reminder that there continues to be upside potential to the modelled prices used for our Ekati ore bodies.”

This 186 carat gem was found in Ekati’s Pigeon kimberlite back in June.
This 186 carat gem was found in Ekati’s Pigeon kimberlite back in June.
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