Rio Tinto recently celebrated the opening of a fourth diamond pipe, known as A21, at the remote subarctic Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The Hon. Wally Schumann, minister of industry, tourism and investment with the government of the Northwest Territories, was the guest of honor at the celebration attended by Indigenous community representatives, joint venture partners and Rio Tinto employees.

The A21 pipe is located adjacent to Diavik’s existing mining operations at Lac de Gras. First ore was delivered in March and the pit is expected to be at full production during the fourth quarter of 2018, following a four-year construction period and an investment of approximately $US350 million, shared by Rio Tinto (60%) and joint venture partner Dominion Diamond Corp. (40%).

“This investment to sustain production levels at Diavik reflects the strong outlook we see for the diamond industry,” Rio Tinto Copper & Diamonds Chief Executive Arnaud Soirat said. “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.”

The Diavik diamond mine, located 300 kilometers (km) northeast of Yellowknife, capital of Canada’s Northwest Territories, began production in 2003 as an open-pit mine and was converted fully to underground mining in 2012.

“Our people can take great pride in their achievement to safely bring the A21 pipe from development to commercial production,” said Diavik Diamond Mines President Patrick Boitumelo. “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.”