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New kimberlite deposit could extend life of northern Canadian mine

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic

The company that owns the largest diamond mine in Canada’s North says a new deposit of diamond-containing rock could potentially extend the life of the Ekati mine by more than a decade.

Right now, the mine is slated to wind down operations by 2019. But Dominion Diamonds, which owns 80 per cent of the existing mine, says it’s looking into developing a recently discovered kimberlite pipe that could potentially keep mining operations there going into 2030 and beyond.

Kimberlite is a type of igneous rock that sometimes contains diamonds. Vertical, carrot-shaped deposits of kimberlite within the Earth’s crust are known as pipes.

The particular pipe Dominion is looking to exploit is called the Jay pipe and is located within granite rock under a lake in the southeastern corner of the Ekati property in Canada’s Northwest territories

“Looking to the future, we have already defined a concept for the mining of the Jay pipe with the potential to add 10 to 15 years of production beyond the current Ekati mine plan,” the company said in a press release announcing its quarterly results after North American stock markets closed on Wednesday.

In the three months up until the end of July, Dominion spent $900,000 on exploration work on the Jay pipe, the company said.

The company, formerly called Harry Winston Diamond Corp., says it plans to file a report with more details on the potential new kimberlite pipe next month.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.