The Diavik Diamond Mine is located in one of the most remote and forbidding places in the world - 220 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle and on the bed of a vast northern lake, Lac de Gras. A single road, built out of ice and crossing frozen lakes, connects the mine with other operations and Yellowknife, capital of Canada's Northwest Territories.
The construction of open pit and underground mining operations and related infrastructure are engineering feats on a grand scale. Open-pit mine construction included the building of rockfill dikes to hold the frigid waters of Lac de Gras at bay. Not only did the extremely harsh climatic conditions present significant construction challenges, but nothing was allowed to blemish the pristine waters of the lake during its building.
Diamonds were first discovered in the Lac de Gras region in the early 1990s, and construction of the Diavik Diamond Mine completed in 2003. The mine has a current footprint of 10.5 square kilometres.
Open pit mining of the A154 South, A154 North and A418 pipes has concluded. Diavik is currently underground mining these three ore bodies.
In November 2014, development of a fourth pipe, called A21, was approved. Open-pit mining of A21 will require a rockfill dike; A21 dike construction will take approximately four years with A21 production expected to commence in late 2018.
Since production began in 2003, Diavik has produced 100 million carats of high quality rough diamonds. The 100 million carat milestone was achieved in May 2016. The majority of Diavik’s product is gem-quality white stones, which are sold to select diamontaires.
Diavik's current mine plan has production continuing to 2024.
The Diavik Diamond Mine includes four ore bodies (A21, A154 South, A154 North, and A418 pipes) with total mine life of 16 to 22 years (currently in year 14).
In December 2015, Diavik unveiled one of the largest rough gem-quality diamonds ever produced in Canada ‒ the 187.7-carat Diavik Foxfire.
Find out more on the Foxfire, including stunning images, and for other recent feature articles on our operations.