Ekati Diamond Mine

The Ekati Diamond Mine (named after the Tlicho word meaning ‘fat lake’) is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine.

The Ekati diamond mine officially began production in October 1998, following extensive exploration and development work dating back to 1981. The Ekati site is located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife.

Arctic Canadian Diamond Company owns a controlling interest in Ekati and is the operator… Over the mine’s early years, production was focused on six open pits (Panda, Koala, Misery, Fox, Koala North, and Beartooth) and three underground operations (Panda, Koala and Koala North).

Development on the Pigeon open pit commenced in 2014 followed by Lynx in 2015 and Sable in 2017. Mining at Lynx was completed in 2020, so that as of February 2021 when Arctic assumed ownership of Ekati, mining operations were focused at Pigeon and Sable open pits and the Misery Underground Mine.

The current mine life of Ekati, including the addition of a new open pit development at Point Lake, runs to 2028. Exploration and project evaluation activities are ongoing, including the development of an innovative mining technique that could be used to extract the deeper resources from the Sable, Fox and Point Lake kimberlites. If successful, the mining of these deeper portions of existing orebodies would extend the life of Ekati for many years to come.

The Ekati mine is renowned for the premium gem quality diamonds it produces. The largest gem quality diamond produced to date at the mine is a 186-carat diamond from the Pigeon pit, which was recovered and sold in 2016. Cumulative production to January 2017 has totalled approximately 67.8 million carats.

Do you know the 4 C’s of diamond grading? Find out how the rough value of a diamond is calculated.