THE US$553 million sale of BHP Billiton’s diamond business has concluded, comprising the company’s interest in the Canadian Ekati diamond mine and diamond marketing operations.
Dominion Diamond Corporation (formerly Harry Winston Diamond Corporation) paid a purchase price of US$500 million, with additional purchase price adjustments of US$53 million.
Under the sales agreement, which was initially announced in November 2012, Dominion will assume all of BHP’s obligations under Ekati’s environmental agreement with the governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories,
as well as impact and benefit agreements with indigenous groups and pension liabilities linked to the mine’s defined benefit scheme.
BHP employees at Ekati in Yellowknife and diamonds marketing in Antwerp have become employees of Dominion Diamond under the agreement.
Announcing the sale in November 2012, BHP diamonds and specialty products president Tim Cutt said Harry Winston (Dominion) would be a great fit for the operation.
“Harry Winston has long experience in the Canadian diamond industry and their commitment to study further development at Ekati could help extend the mine’s contribution to Northern Canada for many years to come,” he said.
BHP chief executive non-ferrous Andrew Mackenzie said the sale was part of a strategy to focus on core assets.
“The divestment of Ekati is consistent with our focus on large, long-life, low-cost, expandable upstream assets and, together with the recent sale of our interests in Richards Bay Minerals and Yeelirrie, reflects our ongoing pursuit of a simpler business,” he said.