Monday, May 9, 2011

BHP Billiton to spend $258m at Ekati

Resources group BHP Billiton on Monday announced the approval of the Misery open-pit project at its Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

The estimated capital expenditure required to complete the execution phase is US$323 million, or 2.1 billion rand, of which 80% is BHP Billiton's share. This means BHP Billiton will spend US$258.4 million, or 1.7 billion rand, on the project.

Ekati is the cornerstone of BHP Billiton's diamond business.

This project consists of a pushback of the existing Misery open pit, which was mined from 2001 to 2005.

Stripping operations are expected to begin in October, with ore production beginning in late 2015 and final production from Misery expected in mid-2017.

Ekati produces about three million carats of rough diamonds annually.

Annual sales from Ekati represent about 3% of current world rough diamond supply by weight and 5% by value.

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