As the weather men finally promise a raise in temperatures for the UK, spare a thought for those miners working at the Ekati Diamond Mine in Canada's Northwest territories. The mine is situated 120 miles south of the Arctic circle in an area covered by tundra, lakes, rivers and marshes. It is a humid subarctic continental climate with cool summers and no dry season. The average temperature typically varies from -31°C to 18°C but is rarely below -38°C or above 23°C.
Ekati is Canada's first surface and underground diamond mine. It officially began operation on 14th October 1998 and, as of November 2012, was expected to operate for another seven years. From 1998 to 2009, the mine produced 40 million carats of diamonds.
Access is via a 500 km seasonal ice road which is built each year. The only other transport is by air from Yellowknife. Strict regulations concerning water use, waste management and land use are in place. Rehabilitation is an on-going, long-term aim.
Diamonds from the mine are sold under the trade name Aurias, with authenticity verified through the CanadaMark service. On 13th November 2012 it was reported that the Harry Winston Diamond Corporation would buy Ekati for $500 million. And with operations expected to continue for another seven years, they may have bagged themselves a bargain!
If you have any diamonds that you would like to sell then please contact Simon Rufus, diamond grader at Grand Auctions, Folkestone, Kent.
- Posted by Simon Rufus