May 17, 2020

Rio Tinto's 187 carat Foxfire diamond heads to auction

Rio Tinto Group
Diavik Diamond Mine
Optimum Diamonds
Dale Benton
1 min
The 187.7 carat 'Foxfire' diamond, Photo: Rio Tinto Group
Foxfire, the ‘freak 187.7 carat diamond discovered in Rio Tinto Groups Diavik Mine very nearly wasnt discovered at all, it has been revealed.


Foxfire, the ‘freak’ 187.7 carat diamond discovered in Rio Tinto Group’s Diavik Mine very nearly wasn’t discovered at all, it has been revealed.

The Diavik Diamond Mine has an ore processor that isn’t configured to handle and process big stones, with the quality of diamonds usually found at Diavik peaking at six carats.

As it is though, Foxfire manged to avoid being crushed by the processor due to its elongated shape, allowing it to pass through a filtering screen sideways.

Now the diamond looks to be set for auction in June, but David Shara, CEO of Optimum Diamonds, believes that the unusual story behind the diamond is cause to display it in a museum in its original uncut rough shape.

“It really is a miracle that it was found,’’ said Alan Davies, chief executive officer of diamonds and minerals for Rio Tinto, the operator of Canada’s Diavik mine, Foxfire’s former home. “It’s a rare find, a really rare find

Read: One in a million: 100 million carat milestone for Rio Tinto.”

The Canadian Diavik Mine began operating in 2003 on an island in Lac de Gras, and has produced more than 90 million carats of diamonds.


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Jun 29, 2021

Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations

battery metals
2 min
Vale’s $150mn investment in operations at Thompson, Manitoba will extend mine life by 10 years

Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.

Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel

The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.

“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.

“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”

Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba

Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.

“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.

“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”

The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history.  Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.

“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.

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