Rio Tinto has become the sole owner of the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada. It will acquire the remaining 40% share held by Dominion Diamond Mines, following the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta’s approval.
With production at Diavik expected to end in 2025, its high-end, predominantly white gem quality diamonds with Canadian provenance continue to be in strong demand in all established and emerging consumer markets.
“Diavik will now move forward with certainty to continue supplying customers with high-quality, responsibly sourced Canadian diamonds and making a significant contribution to the Northwest Territories of Canada and local communities,” Rio Tinto Minerals Chief Executive Sinead Kaufman said. “As owner and operator, Rio Tinto is committed to delivering Diavik’s eventual closure safely and responsibly, to leave a positive legacy in consultation with our community and government partners.”
The transaction comes after a 19-month process triggered in April 2020 by Dominion Diamond Mines ULC filing for insolvency protection under the Canadian Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
Under the terms of the transaction, Rio Tinto acquired all remaining Diavik assets held by Dominion, including unsold Diavik production and cash collateral held as security for Diavik’s future closure costs. In return, Rio Tinto has released Dominion and its lenders from all outstanding liabilities and obligations to fund the operations or closure of the joint venture.
Rio Tinto has operated Diavik since production commenced in 2003. Located approximately 300 kilometers (km) northeast of Yellowknife, the mine employs more than 1,100 employees, of which 17% are northern Indigenous people. In 2020, it produced 6.2 million carats of rough diamonds.