Rio Tinto PLC [RIO-ASX] and Dominion Diamond Corp. [DDC-TSX, NYSE] have unveiled one of the largest diamonds ever discovered in Canada. The 187.7-carat gem-quality rough diamond, known as The Diavik Foxfire, was discovered at the Diavik Diamond Mine in the remote Northwest Territories of Canada, 220km south of the Arctic Circle. Rio Tinto has a 60% interest and Dominion Diamond has a 40% interest in the mine located about 300 km northeast of Yellowknife.
The Diavik Foxfire diamond was showcased during an exclusive preview at Kensington Palace in London.
Rio Tinto Diamonds managing director Jean-Marc Lieberherr said, “We are delighted to showcase this exceptional, two billion-year-old Canadian diamond. Its ancient beginnings, together with the fortitude, finesse and innovative technology required to unearth a diamond in the challenging sub-arctic environment, make it a true miracle of nature.”
The Diavik Foxfire has also been bestowed an indigenous name, Noi?eh Kwe which references the strong ties to the land and its legacy. Grand Chief Edward Erasmus from the Tlicho government said, “I am very pleased that this has been named to honour the area of the caribou crossing, as this has been important to the Tlicho since time immemorial.”
Local communities have been widely consulted about the operation and impact of the Diavik mine, with this engagement leading to considerable employment, training and capacity building opportunities.
Diavik Diamond Mines President and CEO Marc Cameron said “In a landscape so pristine and precious to traditional lifestyles, we have seen and continue to see an inspired collaboration between local indigenous people and a modern mining company.”
The Diavik Foxfire will be showcased in London before returning to Antwerp for careful assessment and planning for the next stage of its journey. It is likely that the 187.7-carat rough diamond will yield at least one very large polished diamond with, its ultimate destiny in an exclusive heirloom piece of jewellery.
Diavik commenced production in 2003 and has an annual production of some 6-7 million carats of predominantly large, white gem-quality diamonds. Since 2000, Diavik has spent $4.8 billion with local businesses and $2.5 billion of this with northern Aboriginal businesses and their joint ventures.