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Ekati mine expects to return to full operations in Q4 2020

29 june 2020
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Main camp at the Ekati Diamond Mine                                                          Image credit: Dominion Diamond Mines

The Ekati Mine is set to resume full operations in the fourth quarter of 2020, as informed on 26 June by the major Canadian miner Dominion Diamond Mines to its employees.
Incidentally, Ekati was shut down in mid-March on health and safety grounds as the Covid-19 pandemic reached the territory. The two other active diamond mines, Diavik and Gahcho Kué, have continued to operate.
Pat Merrin, Dominion’s interim chief executive, said the financially troubled company expects its assets to be sold to its parent, The Washington Companies or a higher bidder, sometime between August and October this year. So far, Washington has made the only firm bid. 
“The sales process does not need to be completed for us to reopen the Ekati mine,” Merrin reportedly told staff, adding that a phased approach to reopening would be taken and restarting Ekati depended on three main factors: the ongoing process of selling Dominion, resumption of the global diamond market, and pandemic-related health and safety. “We anticipate returning to full operations in the fourth quarter of this year,” he predicted. 
About 400 furloughed employees were initially told to expect a return to work at Ekati in August, but this timeline had been pushed back.
According to the mining company, as reopening Ekati in the northern winter would be challenging, it is expected to reopen before the cold fully sets in. However, some employees may be permanently laid off due to the current fluid and dynamic situation, which makes it difficult to predict the future.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough&Polished