Rio Tinto began mining the A21 pipe, an extension at its Diavik asset, which is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories, Rapaport reported. It should allow the company to sustain production levels over the next four years. Rio Tinto owns a 60% share in Diavik, with the remaining 40% held by Dominion Diamond Mines.
The project took four years to construct and cost $350 million. The company began processing ore from the pipe in March, and expects to reach full production during the fourth quarter.
“This investment…reflects the strong outlook we see for the diamond industry,” Arnaud Soirat, CEO of Rio Tinto Copper and Diamonds, 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.”