Rio Tinto has begun mining the A21 pipe, an extension at its Diavik asset that should allow the company to sustain production levels over the next four years.
The project took four years to construct at a cost of $350 million. A21 is the fourth pit at Diavik, which is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories. 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 Monday. “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.”
Rio Tinto owns a 60% share in Diavik, with the remaining 40% held by Dominion Diamond Mines.