The largest diamond ever found in North America has been recovered from a Northwest Territories mine controlled by Dominion Diamond Corp. and Rio Tinto Plc [RIO-NYSE] Group.
The 552-carat yellow gem, found in the Diavik Mine, is reportedly about the size of a chicken egg and is roughly three times larger than the next biggest stone ever found in Canada.
Dominion Diamond Mines CEO Shane Durgin said the diamond is of gem quality, but declined to give more details regarding its value.
â€œItâ€™s a beautiful gem quality,â€ Durgin told Bloomberg News Services. He said itâ€™s a miracle that that stone survived the mining process. â€œItâ€™s very unusual for a diamond of this size [to be found] in this part of the world. So it is a very unique discovery,â€ he said.
While the Diavik Mine is 60%-owned and fully operated by Rio Tinto, Dominion bought the stone in an internal auction process from its partner, according to Bloomberg.
Dominion Diamond Corp. is one of the worldâ€™s largest produces and suppliers of premium rough diamond assortments in the global market. The company operates the Ekati Diamond Mine, in which it has a controlling interest. It also has 40% of the Diavik Diamond Mine. Both are located in the Northwest Territories, about 350 km northeast of Yellowknife.
On November 1, 2017, Dominion Diamond announced that it had been acquired by Northwest Acquisitions ULC, an entity affiliated with industrialist and entrepreneur Dennis R. Washington in a deal worth US$14.25 per share in cash.
However, Dominion said it would operate as a stand-alone, private company. It said it hoped to realize the long-term potential of Dominionâ€™s world-class assets, specifically by extending the life of the Ekati Mine.
The Diavik Foxfire, at 187.7 carats, recovered in late 2015, previously ranked as the largest gem quality rough diamond to be recorded in Canada.
At the time of its discovery, it was said that it was highly unlikely that there would be another rough diamond of its size coming out of North America again.
The Foxfire diamond was exhibited at the Smithsonian before being turned into a pair of pale yellow earrings weighing a total of 77.7 carats. The earrings sold for over $1.5 million at Christieâ€™s earlier this month.
Rio Tinto said Diavik Foxfire was more than two billion years old. It was forged hundreds of kilometres below the surface from a single element â€“ carbon â€“ at pressures and temperatures that can barely be imagined.