Ekati Production Reaches 1 Million Carats

April 30, 1999

Ekati Production Reaches 1 Million Carats

Production at the Ekati Diamond Mine, the first operating Canadian diamond mine, which is located in Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories, reached 1 million carats yesterday after beginning operation in October.

Part-owners BHP Diamonds Inc. and Dia Met Minerals Ltd. report steady production since the mine opened. The companies mined 236,598 carats in March. Analysts predict the mine will produce 3 to 4 million carats annually for the next 25 years, making up roughly 4% of the world's total diamond production.

As of this week, BHP Diamonds had sold 526,000 carats of the mine's production through its Antwerp, Belgium, sales office, totaling $76 million. Average values per carat increased with each of the four sales cycles since production began, the companies report. BHP President James Rothwell says the Canadian diamonds have met with positive response from the world diamond market.

- by Stacey King