Jack Caldwell - Mining Engineer - Robertson GeoConsultants

The news today is that Harry Winston and BHP are talking about the sale of the Ekati Diamond Mine. Specifically Harry Winston is seeking to purchase the Ekati Diamond Mine. Harry Winston is already talking to Rio Tinto about buying Diavik. If this company gets both, it will be a diamond force in the north.

Full disclosure: I have worked for many years on the Ekati tailings facility. My RGC colleagues have worked for many years on the Diavik tailings facility. So I have been privileged to see the area and come to partially understand the issues.

Mining is not easy or cheap in the north. It is cold most of the time. Access is by plane most of the time. Only in deep winter are there ice roads along which to transport heavy equipment. And some say that global warming may cut into the period of durability of such roads. Costs will increase if global warming reduces the period that ice roads are usable.

But the two mines are, relatively speaking, close. And many of the issues and challenges are similar. I understand there are even opportunities for interaction and mining of “common” resources. It would seem to make sense that the two mines be under one company’s control.

Now we sit and await the determination of price. And hence impact on share price. It will be interesting to see how the market values the potential new entity, entities, and companies. From what I can make out, Harry Winston’s share price is rising.

Maybe time to buy if you believe in diamonds and the future of diamond mining in the Northwest Territories. Certainly there are many diamonds yet in the ground. The only issue is how much it will cost to get them out and dispose of the waste, as global warming, if you believe in it, potentially affects access and operating costs.