Rio Tinto Approves Diavik Underground Mining

    YELLOWKNIFE, Nov. 26 /CNW/ - Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. (DDMI), operator
of the Diavik Diamond Mine is pleased to announce that Rio Tinto plc has
approved its investment in the underground mining phase of the Diavik Diamond
Mine. The approval is for additional funding of US$563 million bringing the
total investment to date in the underground mine to US$787 million. The
investment will be funded by the two Diavik joint venture partners, Rio Tinto
at 60 per cent and Harry Winston Diamond Corporation (formerly Aber Diamond
Corporation) at 40 per cent.
    Under the current life of mine plan, diamond production from underground
would begin in 2009 and continue beyond 2020. Open pit mining is expected to
cease in 2012, at which time Diavik would become an all-underground mine.
Diavik's total mine life remains within the 16 to 22 years projected in the
original feasibility study of 1999.
    To support underground mining, Diavik must construct new surface works
including a crusher and paste backfill plant, expand its water treatment and
power generating plants, and construct ancillary facilities including fuel and
cement storage, and additional accommodation facilities. Approximately
20 kilometres of underground development works will also be established to
bring underground mining into production. The capital investment of
US$563 million will be spent over the next two years, adding to the
US$224 million invested in 2006-07 for the underground feasibility studies and
related capital projects.
    This significant new investment in underground mining will provide
training, employment, and business opportunities in addition to those
significant benefits that Diavik already provides. Diavik remains firmly
committed to continuing its work with local communities and governments to
meet its socio-economic and its environmental commitments.

    The Diavik Diamond Mine, located 300 km. northeast of Yellowknife,
Northwest Territories, is an unincorporated joint venture between DDMI (60%)
and Aber 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 Aber Diamond Mines Ltd. is wholly owned by Harry Winston
Diamond Corporation of Toronto, Canada. DDMI is the operator of the project.

For further information:

For further information: contact Tom Hoefer, Manager of Communications &
External Relations at Tel: (867) 669-6500, or visit the DDMI website at

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