Up and running
Ekati to go fully operational Thursday

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 28/98) - Production at Ekati, North America's first diamond mine, is imminent, according to BHP Diamond Inc.'s top logistics manager.

Ekati will be "fully operational Oct. 1," Ian Goodwin, BHP Diamonds Inc.'s maintenance and supply manager, said.

"Some diamonds are now coming through our processing plant," he said.

Bringing the mine to full operation was "achieved by partnering" with the partners sharing in the risk and the reward, he said.

From 100,000 tonnes of material, the mine will get 9,000 tonnes of kimberlite daily. From that 9,000 tonnes, Ekati is projected to produce two kilograms of diamonds a day, he said.

Goodwin, who has been with BHP for 17 years, spoke Wednesday at the Prospects North conference in Yellowknife.

On Oct. 14, the company has scheduled an official opening ceremony at the mine, 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.