Rio Tinto Buys Remaining Share of Diavik Diamond Mine

Rio Tinto office in Montreal, QC, Canada

Rio Tinto, the world’s second-largest miner, just became the sole owner of the Diavik diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories on Thursday. Despite saying in the past the Company was not interested in taking full control of the aging arctic mine, Rio Tinto ended up buying the 40% share held by Dominion Diamond Mines for a total stake of 100%.

Part of the transaction includes Rio Tinto releasing Dominion and its lenders from any outstanding liabilities or obligations involving funding the operation or the closure of the joint venture. On the other end, Rio Tinto will receive all remaining Diavik assets held by Dominion including a security cash collateral for the potential future closure for the mine and unsold production.

Why the Buyout Now?
Dominion, which used to be the fourth-largest diamond producer, suffered some financial troubles which played out in court over several months last year. These troubles ultimately led Dominion to sell its other Canadian mine, Ekati in December 2020. In 2017, The Washington Companies ended up buying the Company for $1.2 billion.

This deal follows a 19 month long process beginning in April 2020 by Dominion Diamond Mines filing for insolvency protection under the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Diavik has been in production since 2003 and is eventually facing closures in 2025 which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fully clean up. Diavik is Canada’s largest diamond mine, and yielded 6.2 million carats of rough diamonds in 2020.

Rio Tinto Minerals boss Sinead Kaufman said in a statement, “Diavik will now move forward with certainty to continue supplying customers with high quality, responsibly sourced Canadian diamonds.”

Worries and concerns began to surround the diamond market due to production coming to a

halt during the global COVID-19 pandemic, with some people worried the market would never recover. However, Alrosa, the world’s top diamond miner by output, claims the market has fully recovered from the effects of the global pandemic, and sales of jewelry and rough diamonds are up 23% this year compared to 2020.

Source: miningfeeds

Stornoway Diamond granted creditor protection

stornoways diamond mine

Stornoway Diamond Corp. of Montreal has been granted protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act from the Superior Court of Quebec while the company restructures its business and financial affairs.

Protection is extended to subsidiaries Stornoway Diamonds Canada, Ashton Mining of Canada, and FCDC Sales and Marketing.

Stornoway has signed a letter of intent with creditors Osisko Gold Royalties and Diaquem, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ressources Quebec, concerning a bridge financing agreement entered into in June this year. The LOI confirms that the creditors intend to acquire all of the assets and properties of Stornoway and assume the debts and liabilities owed them as creditors. Stornoway will continue to be the operator of the mine 320 km north of Chibougamau in the James Bay region.

Osisko says that under the terms of the bridge loan, It will retain its 9.6% diamond stream on the Renard mine and continue to receive diamond deliveries. The proceeds of any diamond sales will be reinvested in the mine for a period of one year.

Osisko and certain of the secured creditors have also agreed to supply an initial C$20 million of working capital to Stornoway. The working capital is intended to keep the mine operating without interruption.

Last kimberlite trucked to plant at De Beers Victor mine

De Beers last truck

The last truckload of kimberlite from Ontario’s first and only diamond mine has left the pit. De Beers Canada said mining ceased on March 5 – 11 years to the day after the official opening in 2008.

The honour of driving the last truck went to Nancy Wesley, of Kashechewan First Nation. She worked at Victor for 11 years, as a haul truck driver, dozer operator and production drill operator.

Stockpiled kimberlite will keep the recovery plant running until early May.

The Victor mine was forecast to produce 6 million carats of diamonds over its life, but it beat that by recovering a total of 8 million carats – with a record 936,000 carats produced in 2018.

The project provided about 1,360 jobs and $3.7 billion of revenue to the province.