Rio Tinto unearths one of Canada's largest diamonds at Northwest Territories mine

By Sudarshan Sitaula

When it comes to diamonds: the bigger, the better. Rio Tinto is in good shape on that front—today the British-Australian mining group introduced the world to the 187.7-carat Diavik Foxfire, one of the largest rough diamonds ever discovered in Canada.

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Rio Tinto uncovered the diamond within the Diavik Diamond Mine, a remote Northwest Territories diamond mine located roughly 137 miles (220km) south of the Arctic Circle. Rio Tinto owns a 60 per cent ownership stake in the Diavik Diamond Mine, with the remaining stake belonging to Dominion Diamond Corp. Since production began in 2003, Diavik has been producing around six to seven million carats of gem-quality diamonds each year—but Diavik Foxfire is a special find.

“We are delighted to showcase this exceptional, two billion-year-old Canadian diamond,” said Rio Tinto Diamonds managing director Jean-Marc Lieberherr in a statement to the press. “Its ancient beginnings, together with the fortitude, finesse and innovative technology required to unearth a diamond in the challenging sub-arctic environment, make it a true miracle of nature.”

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The Diavik Foxfire is currently on display at Kensington Palace in London. After this, the gem will be sent to Antwerp for evaluation—from there, Rio Tinto predicts that the Foxfire will most likely achieve its final form as a polished centerpiece for “an exclusive heirloom piece of jewellery.”

Check out video of the Diavik Foxfire in all its glory:


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