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Ekati sale expected to go through at end of June

The Ekati diamond mine's main camp is seen in a 2020 NWT government inspection photo
The Ekati diamond mine's main camp is seen in a 2020 NWT government inspection photo.


The latest sale of the Northwest Territories’ Ekati diamond mine is expected to be finalized before the end of the month, the current owners say.

In a presentation posted to a public registry, Arctic Canadian says the “expected transition close-out” of Ekati’s sale to Burgundy Diamond Mines, an Australian company, is anticipated on June 30.

The deal is valued at almost $200 million.

Ekati was last sold in February 2021, when financially troubled Dominion Diamond Mines offloaded the mine to Arctic Canadian, a company formed by some of Dominion’s creditors.



Burgundy has said it will maintain Arctic Canadian’s plan to use underwater remote mining to extend Ekati’s mine life, and will also conduct an “assessment of the Jay deposit and Fox underground opportunities.”

In its latest presentation, prepared for a public hearing being held next week, Arctic Canadian states that the sale to Burgundy – if finalized – would “change corporate financing and structure but would have minimal impact on employees and operations.”

The Arctic Canadian name will be maintained, the presentation adds. Mining is anticipated until at least 2029, with work on underwater mining technology “advancing.”

Water licence

The June 13-15 hearing is part of the process to renew Ekati’s water licence, a key environmental condition that allows the mine to use water within parameters set by regulators.



Some parts of the renewal are a formality, as Ekati has held a water licence for more than a quarter of a century – but others are the subject of debate.

For example, Arctic Canadian wants the mine’s water licence to be renewed for 10 years, but others have called for a shorter term.

The Independent Environmental Monitoring Agency, which acts as an Ekati watchdog, says that term should be seven years to align with the expected mine life. If Ekati closes after 2029, the water licence terms will need to change, the agency argues – and even if underwater mining proves viable, that process will need water licence amendments of its own.

The Tłı̨chǫ Government similarly calls for a water licence term of seven to eight years. Arctic Canadian says the term needs to be one that “allows us to do our job of keeping the Ekati diamond mine running.”

The mine owner’s request to reduce the frequency of some planning and reporting related to aquatic effects monitoring is also opposed by the NWT government and others.

A range of other concerns will be examined at the hearing, which will be held at the Kǫ̀ Gocho centre in Behchokǫ̀. The agenda is available from the Wek’èezhìı Land and Water Board.