The Diavik diamond mine, shown here in February 2015, is located on a small island in Lac de Gras, approximately 300 km northeast of Yellowknife and 220 km south of the Arctic Circle, in a remote region of Canada’s Northwest Territories. The Diavik mine, located in the Archean-age Slave geologic province in northern Canada, is one of the world’s preeminent sources of gem diamonds.Since mining operations began in 2003, it has produced over 100 million carats of diamonds.Because of its hardness, brittleness, low vapor pressure (the lowest of the platinum-group metals), and very high melting point (the fourth highest of all elements, after only carbon, tungsten, and rhenium), solid osmium is difficult to machine, form, or work.
Diavik is now expected to operate through 2024; upon closure, the equipment, buildings, and infrastructure will be removed and the land returned as closely as possible to its original condition.Canada is the world’s fourth-largest diamond producer, with most of that output coming from one area near Lac de Gras in the Northwest Territories.This article will review the discovery, development, and operation of the mine, which is situated in a remote subarctic setting in the Northwest Territories.Four kimberlite pipes occur in close proximity—three are being exploited, while the fourth will be brought into production in 2018.The most prized specimens for research are flawed with visible inclusions (figure 2), for these carry actual samples of mantle minerals from depths as great as 800 km beneath the surface.
Diamond provides the perfect container for mantle minerals, isolating them from the high pressure and temperature reactions within the earth for geologic time scales.
As of mid-2016, Canada has three active mines: Ekati and Diavik (figure 1), located about 30 km from each other in the Northwest Territories (figure 2), and the Victor mine in northern Ontario.
Snap Lake, recently placed in a care and maintenance status, lies within 80 km of Ekati and Diavik.
Research into natural diamonds (figure 1) has emerged over the last two decades as one of the keys to understanding the deep earth.
Analytical advances, improved geologic knowledge, and the emergence of new diamond-producing regions (such as the Slave craton of Canada) have all contributed to this change.
Between 17, the Swedish chemist Axel Cronstedt carried out a number of experiments to determine the true nature of kupfernickel.