(Excerpt from upcoming article by Alisha Hiyate in Diamonds in Canada magazine, published by The Northern Miner )
In 2013, De Beers Canada turned down a chance to own a majority stake in Peregrine Diamonds’ Chidliak project in Nunavut. Five years later, it now owns the project outright.
So what changed in that time period? De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter says that the timing just wasn’t quite right the first time around.
“I always say to people that to develop a mining business, you need a few stars to line up and of course the number one star is what’s happening with the global economy, and what’s happening with the diamond business in general, then you get down to the local environment and the quality of the asset. At that time, those various stars just didn’t line up,” Truter told Diamonds in Canada magazine in an October interview.
Now, the situation on all those fronts is different.
“First of all, the project had actually advanced, so credit to the Peregrine team that have done a tremendous advancing of the understanding of the orebodies and the kimberlite pipes up there,” Truter explains. “That, coupled with our portfolio needs and where the economy was sitting meant the stars did line up. So it’s fantastic to have made that acquisition.”
With its Snap Lake mine on care and maintenance since the end of 2015 and its Victor mine to close next year, it was vital for De Beers – which has been operating in Canada for 50 years – to get new projects in its pipeline to complement production from its 51%-owned Gahcho Kué mine.
And whereas its past joint venture option on Chidliak would have given it 50.1% of the asset for a...