Owner of Canadian Mine for Sale

For sale: A stake in one of the world’s most talked-about diamond mines.

Dia Met, the company that spearheaded the diamond rush in Canada’s Northwest Territories with its discovery of the Ekati mine, is for sale. The company owns 40% of the mine but has been in turmoil since the divorce of founder Charles Fipke.

Following the announcement, press accounts speculated that De Beers, which already gets 33% of Ekati’s output, would be a natural bidder-especially after its recent bids for Australia’s Ashton Mining and another Canadian company, Winspear. But

De Beers says it has no plans to bid on Ekati right now. “For now, it’s not on our radar screen-nor is it likely to be for the near future,” says De Beers spokesman Andrew Lamont. The other widely mentioned candidate: the mine’s majority owner, Australian mining company BHP. But spokesman Graham Nicholls would say only that the mine is “looking at available options. No decision has been made.”