Rio Tinto inaugurates A21 diamond pipe at Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada


Global mining company Rio Tinto has officially opened a new diamond pipe named A21, built with an investment of $350 million, at the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

A21 is now the fourth diamond pipe at the Diavik Diamond Mine which is located is located on a 20 km2 island at the Lac de Gras lake in the North Slave Region of the remote Northwest Territories. The other three diamond pipes are A154 South, A154 North, and A418.

Rio Tinto says that the A21 open pit pipe, which took four years for its construction, will be an important source of incremental supply for the coming four years to sustain production levels at the Canadian diamond mine.

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Commenting on the inauguration of the A21 diamond pipe at the Diavik Diamond Mine, Arnaud Soirat – Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds CEO said “This investment to sustain production levels at Diavik reflects the strong outlook we see for the diamond industry.

“It is a remarkable achievement to deliver this project safely and ahead of time in such a challenging environment, positioning Diavik to continue meeting the demand for its outstanding diamonds.”

Inauguration ceremony of Rio Tinto's A21 diamond pipe at Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada.

Inauguration ceremony of Rio Tinto’s A21 diamond pipe at Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada. Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto.

The first ore at the A21 diamond pipe was drawn in March with full production to be reached during Q4 2018.

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The Diavik Diamond Mine is owned 60% by Rio Tinto with the remaining 40% stake owned by Dominion Diamond. The development cost of the A21 diamond pipe was shared by the two mining companies based on their ownership stakes.

The newest diamond pipe of the partners is located near the existing mining operations of the Diavik Diamond Mine.

Rio Tinto is responsible for the operation of the Canadian diamond mine through its subsidiary Diavik Diamond Mines. On the other hand, Dominion Diamond is responsible for 40% of the operating and capital costs of the Diavik Diamond Mine, and in return gets an equal percentage of the diamond production.

The Diavik Diamond Mine, which is located 300kms of Northwest Territories’ capital Yellowknife, had entered into production in 2003 and later in 2012 became a fully underground mining operation. The gem quality diamonds that are predominantly produced from the Canadian diamond mine for high-end jewellery markets are traded in all major consumer markets across the globe.

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Patrick Boitumelo – Diavik Diamond Mines president, commenting on the inauguration of the A21 diamond pipe at the Diavik Diamond Mine, said: “Our people can take great pride in their achievement to safely bring the A21 pipe from development to commercial production. This new pipe is great news for the Northwest Territories and will help to deliver economic and social benefits that will endure beyond the life of the Diavik mine.”

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