Dominion Diamond Mines has completed the previously announced sale of the Ekati mine and associated assets to Arctic Canadian Diamond Co. Ltd., a company formed and owned by funds and accounts managed by DDJ Capital Management, Brigade Capital Management LP and Western Asset Management Co. LLC. The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench approved the sale of Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine pursuant to an order issued on December 11.

Arctic has acquired nearly all of Dominion’s assets, excluding it’s interest in the joint venture agreement and liabilities relating to the Diavik diamond mine, including assuming US$70 million of Dominion’s outstanding indebtedness and the reclamation obligations of the Ekati mine.

“This transaction significantly reduces our debt obligations, and provides sufficient liquidity to fund our operations, invest in future growth and allow the company to emerge with a materially stronger balance sheet,” Dominion Diamond CFO Kristal Kaye said.

In March 2020, operations were suspended at the Ekati mine due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The mine was put on care and maintenance and a minimal crew remained at site to maintain the mine. The company initiated a 10-week phased restart in November 2020 and returned to full operations on January 20, 2021. It is anticipated that the full recall of employees back to work will be completed no later than February 25.

“We are excited to have our employees back at work and to have Ekati in full production again,” Interim President Rory Moore said. “We are also very grateful to our new owners for the commitment they have demonstrated to Ekati and its stakeholders. This new partnership will bring fresh perspectives to our operations and be the driving force behind our continued growth.”

On April 22, 2020, Dominion filed for insolvency protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA).