Production at the Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Territories has returned to levels of those reported a year ago.
Output in the first three months of 2004 totalled almost 1.3 million carats of rough diamonds — a 40% decline from the previous quarter but in line with the corresponding period of 2003. Ekati treated 1.05 million tonnes of kimberlite ore grading 1.21 carats per tonne in the March 2004 quarter.
For the first nine months of fiscal 2004, Ekati produced more than 5.3 million carats after processing 3.2 million tonnes of kimberlite ore averaging 1.65 carats per tonne. By comparison, 3.8 million carats were produced in the corresponding period of 2003 from the treatment of 3.1 million tonnes averaging 1.21 carats per tonne.
BHP Billiton (BHP-N) is the operator and 80%-owner of the Ekati mine. The remainder is shared between geologists Charles Fipke and Stewart Blusson.