Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine is known for producing our premium gem quality diamonds that are world renowned.
Burgundy Diamond Mines owns and operates the Ekati Diamond Mine. Ekati is located in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories of Canada, approximately 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife.
Production at Ekati Diamond Mine began officially in October 1998, following five years of extensive evaluation and development. Exploration programs date back to 1981 and led to the discovery of the Point Lake kimberlite in 1991 and Canada’s greatest staking rush. There are two active mining operations at Ekati, the Sable open pit and the Misery Underground mine. Despite its location in the Canadian sub-arctic, mining activities are conducted year-round.
“Ekati” in Tłı̨chǫ means Fat Lake. The Tłı̨chǫ people are a Dene First Nations people and one of the traditional land users in proximity to the mine site.
Burgundy is committed to sustainable development in local communities and has four Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) for the Ekati Mine with the Hamlet of Kugluktuk & Kitikmeot Inuit Association, Akaitcho Treaty 8 (Yellowknives Dene First Nation & Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation), Tłı̨chǫ Government and North Slave Métis Alliance. The IBAs set the foundation to manage the impacts and benefits associated with the Ekati Mine development in relation to the use of Indigenous lands and ensure economic benefits for traditional land users and neighbouring Indigenous communities in proximity to the mine site.
Currently the Ekati Mine property consists of 122 mining leases totaling about 113,485 hectares. Click on the interactive map to learn about our projects.
Sable Open Pit
The Sable pipe was discovered in 1996. Since 2018, the Sable open pit has produced over 2 million carats. Mining is proceeding at a rate of approximately 2 million tonnes per month (ore plus waste) and open pit mining is expected to be completed in Sable pit by the third quarter of 2024.
Ekati Main Camp
First opened in 1998. The camp includes individual private bedrooms, a full-service dining room, on-site concession store, laundry room, and a fully equipped gym with a wide range of cardio and weight equipment, as well as a running track and squash courts.
Long Lake Containment Facility
Crushed and washed kimberlite generated during processing is separated at the process plant and the fine fraction is sent to the Long Lake Containment Facility by slurry pipeline. Components at the Long Lake Containment Facility include five containment cells, three filter dikes, the outlet dam, access roads and pipelines. A revegetation research project has been ongoing at this site since 2014, with encouraging results achieved to date.
Fox Open Pit
The Fox pipe was the second pipe discovered at Ekati in 1992. It is a very large pipe and was mined as an open pit from 2004 to 2015. More than 8 million carats were recovered from the open pit mine. The deeper portion of Fox could be developed as an underground mine or through underwater remote mining methods.
The Point Lake pipe was the first diamondiferous pipe discovered in the Northwest Territories in 1991. The Point Lake open pit project is currently under development after receiving permit approvals in May of 2022. Phase 1 of the lake dewatering was completed in the summer of 2022, with the remainder of the dewatering and initial overburden and waste rock stripping scheduled to commence in 2023.
First opened in 2001 and expanded in 2015 to support continuation of open pit mining. The camp includes individual private bedrooms, a full-service dining room and a fully equipped gym. It now serves as the lodging accommodations for all the workers at Misery Underground Mine. Misery Camp is about a 45 minute drive from the Ekati Main Camp.
Lynx Open Pit
Lynx is a small open pit mine located south of Misery. It operated from 2017 to 2019 and produced just under one million carats. An underwater remote mining production trial is slated at Lynx in summer 2025.
The Misery pipe was initially mined as an open pit and produced over 27 million carats including special highly sought-after fancy yellow stones. The mine was converted to an underground operation in 2019 and achieved commercial production in 2021. More than 3 million carats have been produced from the underground mine to date.
The Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road is 475 km long and 86 percent of it is constructed across lakes. The road connects by a permanent all-weather road east of Yellowknife to the Ekati Main Camp, via the Misery haulage road. Typically, the winter road is open from early February to late March, with exact dates fluctuating from year to year based on weather conditions.
Timeline for Ekati Diamond Mine active and permitted mine projects
Timeline for Ekati Diamond Mine active and permitted mine projects
Current Mining Operations
Sable Open pit Mine
The Sable pipe was discovered in 1996. The Sable open pit is located 17 kilometres north-northeast of the Ekati Main Camp. Following a two-year construction period, the pit has been operational since 2018 with full production achieved in 2019. The Sable open pit is a 60,000 tonne-per-day (tpd) operation providing 10,500 tpd of kimberlite ore feed to the plant. It is a conventional truck and shovel operation utilizing CAT 6060 and 6030 shovels and 793 and 777 haul trucks.
Misery Underground Mine
The Misery pipe was initially mined as an open pit and produced over 27 million carats including special highly sought-after fancy yellow stones. The mine was converted to an underground operation in 2019 and achieved commercial production in 2021. The underground operation utilizes a sublevel retreat mining method at a nominal mining rate of 3,000 tpd providing 2,750 tpd of ore to the process plant. Ore and waste are hauled from the underground utilizing AD30 haul trucks and two ramp portals to the surface of the previously operating Misery open pit. Ore is further hauled to surface utilizing CAT 740 haul trucks. More than five million carats have been produced from the underground mine to date.
Point Lake Project
Underwater Remote Mining
Life of mine plan and extension opportunities
Ekati’s current mine plan is underpinned by ore reserves of 15.8 million carats, including Sable open pit, Misery underground mine and Point Lake, supporting a mine life to 2028. Sable open pit and Misery underground are expected to deliver most of the production until 2025 when Point Lake ore becomes the dominant process plant feed source. Point Lake is expected to provide the gateway to the future of Ekati by keeping the mine running while future projects are prepared.
Burgundy developed a conceptual mine plan that potentially extends Ekati’s mine life towards 2040. The concept involves extension of Misery underground, moving underground at Sable, developing underground at Fox, processing an existing stockpile at Fox, optimizing the Point Lake project and implementing underwater remote mining.