Ekati sale official, new owners hopeful the future is bright

The Ekati diamond mine officially has new owners.

The sale, which carries a price tag of $150 million US, was finalized on Tuesday — transferring 100 per cent of the Arctic Diamond Company Limited shares to Burgundy Diamond Mines, an Australian-based company. It is the third company to own the mine since 2017.

“I think it is exciting for everyone,” Kim Truter, CEO of Burgundy Diamond Mines told CBC News.

The company wants to extend Ekati’s mining life and hire more northerners.

“I think the North desperately needs these diamond mines to continue,” Truter said.

“We know that some of the other ones will be closing down … but I’m very excited about the fact that we could extend this mine’s life and continue jobs, royalties, taxes, etcetera for the North.”

Safe in a suit with his hands in front of him as he explains something standing up.
Kim Truter, CEO of Burgundy Mines Ltd, says his company’s purchase of Ekati is ‘exciting for everyone.’ (Jean-Loup Doudard/Radio-Canada)

Prior to the sale, the mine was owned by Calgary-based Arctic Canadian for the last two years, and before that, Dominion Diamond Mines, who filed for insolvency protection.

Despite being one of several new owners in under a decade, Truter said the company is not concerned as it feels Burgundy Diamond Mines is the right fit.

“I think we all know some of the checkered history around some of the previous owners who also probably weren’t the right owners,” Truter said.

The company says it could ‘easily’ extend Ekati’s life

An article from the Northern Miner last year stated the Ekati mine could close as early as 2024, but Truter said the company is hopeful to extend the mine’s life for “many, many” years.

“We wouldn’t have bought this asset if we didn’t intend to do something with it,” Truter said.

“Conceptually, we could easily extend the mine’s life of 15 years if we were able to find a way to develop some of those pipes or go back to some of the old pipes and mine them with underground mining or other methods.”

Yellowknives Dene First Nation have spoken out in support of the mines continuing.

Smiling man in western shirt, ball cap.
Yellowknives Dene First Nation Chief Fred Sangris spoke about outstanding land claims. “Through negotiations or by standing up, we try to make that stand only for one purpose, which is to have a good future without interference. A good future without interference is what we want. And we ask Canada to be our partner, or step aside.” (Avery Zingel/CBC)

“If the mine closes, then it’s not good for many of the workers working in the mines,” Fred Sangris, Chief of Ndilǫ previously told CBC News.

“We want the mines to continue.”

In addition to exploring an extended life for the mines, Truter said the company will also look to increase northern employment.

“I’ve had a look at the employment numbers and I think there’s an opportunity there,” Truter said, noting he would be flying up to Yellowknife this weekend to meet with stakeholders, government officials and community leaders.

“We all have a common goal that we want to extend the mine’s life and we’ll do that responsibility.”

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