It officially began production in October 1998, following extensive exploration and development work dating back to 1981. Like Diavik, the Ekati mine site is located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories, approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife.
The company operates the Ekati Diamond Mine in which it owns a controlling interest. Over the mine’s early years, production was focused on six open pits (Beartooth, Fox, Koala, Koala North, Misery, and Panda) and three underground operations (Koala, Koala North, and Panda).
As of 2018, Koala, Lynx, Misery, Pigeon, and Sable are the actively mined pipes. Lynx, Pigeon, and Sable are open pit operations, while Koala is an underground operation. Misery operations will transition from open pit to underground mining in 2018, subject to permitting approvals.
The Jay project was approved for construction by the company in July 2016 and is the most significant undeveloped deposit at Ekati due to its large size and high grade. The timetable for the development of Jay includes road construction, which started in 2017; dike construction in 2019-2021; dewatering and start of pre-stripping in 2022; and mining and processing of Jay kimberlite by 2023.
The current mine life of Ekati, including the Misery underground and the Jay project, is 2034. Several exploration and project evaluation activities are ongoing, including the Fox Deep project which would extend the life of Ekati to 2042.