BHP May Exit Diamond Industry

Mega-miner BHP Billiton may exit the diamond business, and sell its stake in the Ekati diamond mine in the Northwest Terrorities as well as the Chidliak exploration project in Canada.

A review of the company’s diamond portfolio, which will be completed by January 2012, will “examine whether a continued presence in the diamonds industry is consistent with BHP Billiton’s strategy,” a company statement said.

The statement continued: “BHP Billiton’s strategy is to invest in large, long life, upstream, and expandable assets while remaining a simple and scalable organisation. Ekati is a world class operation and Chidliak is a promising exploration opportunity, but many years of extensive exploration suggest there are few options to develop new diamond mines that are consistent with this approach.”

The company pledged to “only pursue those options that will preserve Ekati’s outstanding safety and environmental standards and protect the benefits that the mine has created for local communities.”

BHP currently holds an 80 percent stake in the Ekati mine.

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