Diavik Cancels Winter Shutdown
15 September 2009
Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. wishes to announce its decision to cancel a winter production shutdown at the Diavik mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.Earlier this year, Diavik had announced a series of actions in response to changes in market conditions, including plans for a summer and winter production shutdown. The summer shutdown was safely and successfully concluded on August 24 and rough diamond production has returned to pre shutdown levels. The winter shutdown, which has now been cancelled, was originally planned for 1 December 2009 through 11 January 2010.
“This is a positive development for all of us at Diavik and for our local communities, business partners, and government. There has been sufficient improvement in the market outlook to enable us to make this decision,” said Kim Truter, Diavik President and Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Truter went on to say that Rio Tinto was maintaining a close watch on the diamond market and “should the market deteriorate again, future production shutdowns remain an option.”
During the summer production shutdown Diavik remained in compliance with all permits and licences. Mining and processing of ore ceased but other work, including environmental monitoring, raising of the embankment around the processed kimberlite containment area, and planned equipment maintenance occurred. Approximately 600 workers were affected but were able to use accumulated leave entitlements or access salary averaging.
The Diavik Diamond Mine, currently an open pit mine, is planning to commence underground production in early 2010. By 2012, Diavik expects open pit mining will cease at which time Diavik will become an all underground mine.
For further information on Diavik Diamond Mine please contact:
Acting Principal Adviser, Communications
Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.
867 669 6525
Notes to Editors
About the Diavik Diamond Mine
The Diavik Diamond Mine is located 300 km. northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories and is an unincorporated joint venture between Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. (60%) and Harry Winston Diamond Limited Partnership (40%). Both companies are headquartered in Yellowknife, Canada. DDMI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto plc of London, England, and Harry Winston Diamond Limited Partnership is controlled by Harry Winston Diamond Corporation of Toronto, Canada. DDMI is the operator of the project.
About Rio Tinto Diamonds
Rio Tinto operates a fully integrated diamond business. Currently, Rio Tinto is one of the world’s largest diamond producers through its 100 per cent control of the Argyle mine in Australia, 60 per cent of the Diavik mine in Canada and a 78 per cent interest in the Murowa mine in Africa.
These three mines allow Rio Tinto to be present in all segments of the market. Rio Tinto’s share of the production from these three mines was approximately US$840 million in 2008 and sold through its sales and marketing arm in Antwerp, Belgium. 70 per cent of Rio Tinto’s diamonds are processed in India.
Rio Tinto Diamonds is a leading supporter of the Kimberley Process as well as a founding member of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto’s business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.