Mining major BHP Billiton is relooking at its diamond business with a purpose of understanding whether being part of this industry would be in sync with its strategy, and is considering selling either all or part of its diamond business. The company’s diamond assets include an 80 percent stake in the Ekati mine in Canada and 51 percent in the Chidliak exploration project, also in Canada.
The review is expected to conclude by end of January 2012.
Although the company notes the Ekati mine to be a world class operation and Chidliak as a promising exploration opportunity, it is also of the opinion that many years of extensive exploration have led to few options in developing new diamond mines that align with its growth approach. Yet even though a sale is being considered, the company is definite about pursuing only such options that preserve Ekati’s outstanding safety and environmental standards and protect the benefits that the mine has created for local communities. As such, the potential transactions will undergo a detailed analysis prior to a final decision and if not suited to expectations, then BHP Billiton will continue to operate the mine in a sustainable manner. As such, the company intends to maintain the legacy of the Ekati mine and its workers who have contributed to the economic growth and development in Northern Canada.