In the deal which is valued at $500 million, BHP will sell its Ekati mine in Canada as well as its diamond marketing operations. The mine in question has produced in excess of three million carats of rough diamonds per year for the last three years.
BHP’s decision comes at a time when it is looking to simplify its business and focus on large, long-life, expandable upstream assets. Such assets fall into its core businesses of iron ore and coal. In 2011, the company launched a review of its diamond business to assess if it was feasible to continue operating the division.
In December, it agreed to sell a 51 percent stake in the Chidliak diamond exploration project on Canada's Baffin Island to Peregrine Diamonds. It has recently also sold holdings in Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa and Yeelirrie in Western Australia.