The Ekati Diamond Mine (named after the Tlicho word meaning ‘fat lake’) is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine. It officially began production in October 1998, following extensive exploration and development work dating back to 1981. Like Diavik, the Ekati mine site is located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife.
The Ekati mine is renowned for the premium gem quality diamonds it produces. The largest gem quality diamond produced to date at the mine is the 78 carat Ekati Spirit, which was discovered in 2010 and sold at auction in 2011. A production milestone of 50 million carats was achieved in 2011.
The Company operates the Ekati diamond mine through its 88.9 per cent ownership as well as a 65.3 per cent ownership in the surrounding areas containing additional reserves and resources.
Over the mine’s early years, production was focused on six open pits and two underground operations. The current Reserves Base Case Mine Plan is based on production from five kimberlite pipes: Misery, Pigeon, Lynx and Jay open pits, and Koala underground operations. Currently, Koala is being mined, the Misery open pit is undergoing an expansion, and pre-stripping started at the Pigeon open pit in 2014. Mining has not yet commenced at the Jay and Lynx pipes. In addition, the Misery South and Southwest satellite material is being excavated as part of the Misery pre-stripping operations. This material is being stockpiled separately and is planned to be processed through the Ekati plant as a supplement to the Reserve Base Case Mine Plan, which we refer to as the Operating Base Case Mine Plan. The Ekati process plant has the capacity to process 4.3 million tonnes per year. Additional feed from Coarse Ore Rejects will be used to supplement mined ore. This material is not included in the reserves or resources and is therefore incremental to production.
While carat production in 2015 is expected to be lower than the average achieved over the last five years, it is expected to return to higher carat production as the mine transitions to production from the Misery, Pigeon and Lynx open pits, which overall have higher grades, but lower carat values.
Jay is the most significant undeveloped deposit at Ekati and has the potential to extend the mine life approximately 10 to 11 years beyond the current projected closure in 2020 to at least 2030. The Company’s timetable for the development of Jay assumes permitting will be completed in 2016 with the start of construction in the second half of that year. In 2020, the project would supply approximately half of the ore to the process plant as Jay mining activities ramp up and the existing ore sources are exhausted.
As of January 31, 2015, the Ekati Mine had 20.2 million carats of probable reserves in the Core Zone and 85.6 million carats of probable reserves in the Buffer Zone for a total of 105.8 million carats of total probable reserves (reserves are for 100 per cent of the Ekati Mine; the Company has a 88.9% per cent ownership in the Core Zone and 65.3% in the Buffer Zone).
N1 43-101 Technical Reports
2015 Ekati Diamond Mine Technical Report
Project Description Reports
Lynx Project Description Report – Sept 2013
Jay-Cardinal Project Description Report
Jay-Cardinal PDR Appendices