BHP Billiton announced today plans to review its diamonds business, specifically in respect to the interests of the EKATI Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories and the Chidliak exploration project in Nunavut, Canada.
As BHP Billiton’s company strategy is focused on investing assets that are seen as large, long life, upstream and expandable investments, BHP is considering on how to move forward with its diamond assets. The EKATI operation has proven itself successful since the discovery of diamonds in Canada in 1991 while the Chidliak operations are also quite promising, but BHP Billiton says the company does not see proof of many further options in developing new diamond mines.
As BHP Billiton reviews its business, the company plans to analyze its strategy, potentially selling part or all of its diamond business, while keeping in mind the importance of the diamond mines to local economy and workforce. BHP Billiton plans to only pursue options that will preserve EKATI’s world class operations including its safety and environmental standards while protecting the benefits the mine brings to its local community.
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“EKATI has made a substantial contribution to economic growth and development in the North ever since diamonds were first discovered there in 1991. Its success is a credit to the great team working at the mine and the strong partnerships they have built with Aboriginal communities and local businesses,” said Tim Cutt, BHP Billiton Diamonds & Specialty Products President. “The review we’ve announced today will seek to maintain this legacy so that EKATI continues to bring social and economic benefits to the North while remaining a great place to work.”
BHP Billiton’s review of its diamonds business is expected to be conducted and completed by late January 2012.