BHP Billiton has completed the sale of its diamonds business, comprising its interests in the EKATI Diamond Mine and Diamonds Marketing operations, to Dominion Diamond Corporation (formerly Harry Winston Diamond Corporation). The purchase price was US$500 million plus purchase price adjustments of US$53 million for a total amount paid of US$553 million. The sale of the diamonds business to Dominion Diamond was announced on 13 November 2012, subject to receipt of regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions, all of which have been satisfied.
Under the terms of the sale agreements, Dominion Diamond will assume all of BHP Billiton’s obligations under EKATI’s Environmental Agreement with the Governments of Canada and the Northwest Territories, Socio-Economic Agreement with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Impact and Benefit Agreements with Aboriginal Groups and pension liabilities linked to the mine’s defined benefit scheme. BHP Billiton employees working at EKATI, in Yellowknife and in Diamonds Marketing in Antwerp have become employees of Dominion Diamond as part of the transaction.
EKATI is located 310 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and 200 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle. It was Canada’s first diamond mine. Prior to completion of the sale, BHP Billiton’s interest in EKATI consisted of an 80 per cent interest in the Core Zone Joint Venture, comprising existing operations and a 58.8 per cent interest in the Buffer Zone Joint Venture, primarily focusing on exploration targets.