The largest diamond mine to be created in the last 13 years has begun production.
Gahcho Kué, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is expected to produce approximately 54m carats of rough diamonds over its lifetime.
Jointly owned by De Beers Group (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), the mine will contribute more than C$5bn to the economy of the territory over its lifetime, according to a study by consultancy EY.
Patrick Evans, president and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds, said: “Gahcho Kué is a rich diamond deposit that secures Canada’s position as one of the world’s leading diamond producers.”
Meanwhile, the most valuable cut diamond ever to be offered at auction, the Pink Star currently on show at Sotheby’s in London, is expected to fetch $60m when it is sold in Hong Kong in April. It was mined by De Beers in Africa in 1999.
De Beers said in its preliminary financial report for 2016 that its rough diamond production worldwide had decreased by 5% to 27.3m carats.
The decision was taken in 2015 to slow production in response to market conditions.
Canada saw the biggest decline in production, which fell by 45% to 1m carats. This was largely due to the closure of the Snap Lake mine, which was flooded to preserve deposits when the company failed to find a buyer for it.
Among the other mines to see the biggest production cuts were Namdeb Holdings in Namibia, which decreased by 11% to 1.6m carats.
In South Africa, production declined by 9% to 4.2m carats after the company’s Kimberley Mines were sold.
“Owing to continuing depressed markets in key industrial sectors (principally oil and gas)... the industrial diamonds business experienced a challenging year,” said De Beers.
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