Production at the Diavik diamon mine in Canada is expected to rise significantly in 2012 after operations missed targets in 2011. Production at Diavik rose 3 percent to 6.7 million carats in 2011 and is expected to increase to 8.3 million carats in 2012, reported Harry Winston, which owns 40 percent stake in the mine. Rio Tinto owns majority share. Additional output will include about 1 million carats recovered from reprocessed plant rejects and 100,000 carats from the implementation of an improved recovery process for small diamonds.
“As the Diavik operation transitions to underground mining it is gratifying to find that a better understanding of the resource continues to improve the reserve and resource inventory,” said Robert Gannicott, Harry Winston’s chairman. ”Improved mining and ore handling techniques are being designed and implemented to improve returns for the future.”
Output in 2011 fell slightly below the initial target of 6.9 million carats as a result of lower than expected amounts of reprocessed ore and a higher proportion of ore processed from the lower value A-418 kimberlite. Rio Tinto is expected to publish a new life-of-mine plan for Diavik in the near future.
Harry Winston stated that it expects to end its fiscal year on January 31 with higher than normal inventories due to a decision to hold back some lower priced goods when the market softened in the second half of 2011. These goods will be sold within a few months, the company added.
Harry Winston noted that rough prices have stabilized recently despite the continuing flow of lower value diamonds from Zimbabwe. The company’s January sale commenced this week.