YELLOWKNIFE, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. (DDMI), operator
of the Diavik Diamond Mine, is pleased to provide this fourth quarter update.
A highlight of the quarter was the announcement by Diavik's joint venture
partners to invest US$563 million to prepare for underground mining. The money
will be spent over the next two years to construct approximately 20 kilometres
of underground tunnels and surface works including a crusher and paste
backfill plant. Water treatment, power generation and accommodation capacity
will be expanded, and ancillary facilities including fuel and cement storage
will be constructed. Underground production will begin in 2009, and will grow
to replace open pit mining by 2012. Mine life is expected to continue beyond
2020, and is within the 16 to 22 years originally projected in the Diavik mine
Quarterly production from the A154 South pipe reached 2.9 million carats,
bringing the total 2007 diamond production to 11.9 million carats. Surface
mining will continue on the A154 South pipe as work continues on schedule to
prepare the new A418 open pit for ore release in the first quarter 2008. As
per plan, mining of the A154 North pipe will resume when the pipe is accessed
via the underground workings.
One lost time injury and five medical treatment injuries occurred in the
quarter, bringing the total for 2007 to eight lost time injuries and
11 medical treatments. This brings the 2007 All Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR)
to 1.01, representing a 4% improvement over 2006. (AIFR is an industry
standard calculated on number of medical treatments and lost time injuries per
200,000 hours worked).
From a community perspective, employment during the quarter averaged 814
workers, of which 67 per cent is northern, and nearly half of that is
Aboriginal. By year end, eight workers had completed Diavik's latest
Aboriginal Leadership Development Program, bringing total graduates to date to
26. The ALDP provides its participants with additional training and skills to
help strengthen and advance their careers. In other workforce development, at
year end there were 22 northern apprentices employed at the mine. Since the
start of operations, 12 northerners have completed their apprenticeships and
attained journeyperson certification with Diavik.
Exploration in 2007 included just over 900 metres drilled during the 2007
spring exploration program, testing several new targets east of the mine site.
A total of 425 line-km of detailed ground geophysics including ground magnetic
and horizontal loop electromagnetic surveys were completed during the spring
and summer programs. During further ground follow-up work, 300 till samples
were collected. Total kimberlite bodies discovered to date on the Diavik
property remains at 68.
The Diavik Diamond Mine, located 300 km. northeast of Yellowknife,
Northwest Territories, is an unincorporated joint venture between DDMI (60%)
and Harry Winston Diamond Mines Ltd. (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 Mines Ltd. is a wholly owned
subsidiary of Harry Winston Diamond Corporation of Toronto, Canada. DDMI is
the operator of the project.
For further information:
For further information: Tom Hoefer, Manager of Communications &
External Relations at Tel: (867) 669-6500, or visit the DDMI website at