Largest known diamond in North America discovered by Rio Tinto joint venture partner

Dominion Diamond Mines recovery largest diamond North America Diavik Rio Tinto
The 552-carat yellow diamond beats the previous North American record held by a 187.7-carat diamond, which also came from the Diavik diamond mine.

Dominion Diamond Mines has unearthed the largest diamond ever discovered in North America from the Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) operated Diavik diamond mine, with the gem surpassing a previous record held at the same operation.

The yellow Canadamark diamond, which weighs in at 552-carats, was discovered while passing through the initial screening process at Diavik’s recovery plant in October.

Dominion owns a 40% of the Diavik diamond mine, with mining giant Rio Tinto holding the majority stake (60%) as operator.

Commenting on the significant discovery, the company said it showcased what is truly spectacular about Canadamark diamonds.

“The colour and texture of the diamond are a unique example of the journey that natural diamonds take from their formation until we unearth them,” Dominion Diamond Mines chairman Kyle Washington said.

“Our Diavik mine has produced some of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, and this one certainly tops the list.”

Diamond’s worth unknown

The diamond will now be cut and polished by a selected partner.

According to the company, the size and highly technical nature of the stone means that only a handful of master cutters in the world are qualified to polish it, ensuring that the stone’s beauty, color and brilliance are maximised.

The Alberta-headquartered company expects to achieve a significant main stone once the diamond is polished, that will be Canadamark certified.

With the diamond still undergoing evaluation, the company said it was too early to list an exact valuation on the diamond.

Diavik’s strong history of producing big sparklers

Diavik, which is located about 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories, has a history of uncovering significant gems.

In 2015, the joint venture partners discovered what was at the time hailed as one of the largest diamonds ever discovered in Canada.

Dubbed the Diavik Foxfire, the 187.7-carat gem-quality rough diamond was discovered at the Diavik diamond mine and later showcased during an exclusive preview at Kensington Palace in London.

When polished, the Diavik Foxfire yielded a 37.87 brilliant-cut pear shape and a 36.80 brilliant-cut pear shape that were both recently auctioned as part of Christies Magnificent Jewels and were purchased for $1.3 million.

Diavik has been in production since 2003 with an annual production rate of some 6-7 million carats of predominantly large, white gem-quality diamonds. Diavik’s exceptional grades make it one of the most valuable diamond mines in the world.

While Canada has a long history of producing sizeable and high-quality diamonds, Africa lays claim to some of the largest diamonds ever discovered.

The largest discovered diamond is the South African-produced Cullinan diamond. Boasting 3,106-carats, the diamond was found in 1905.

In 2015 Lucara Diamond Corp uncovered a 1,111-carat diamond in a Botswana Mine which was touted as the biggest diamond find in more than a century.

Shiny appeal

Earlier this month Lucapa Diamond Company (ASX: LOM) announced the discovery of a large 78-carat white diamond from its 70%-owned Mothae kimberlite mine in Lesotho, southern Africa.

The 78-carat white diamond is the largest Special recovered through the new 1.1Mtpa Mothae treatment plant following the commencement of commissioning and recovery of commercial diamonds, which the company says highlights the mines potential to regularly uncover large diamonds.

In addition to Mothae, Lucapa is also furthering two exploration projects in known diamond provinces, including an extensive exploration program at Brooking in the West Kimberley lamproite province in Western Australia.

Lauren has more than six years’ experience as a business journalist and editor in Australia and Southeast Asia. With specialist knowledge of the resources sector, including oil and gas, she has covered publicly listed companies of all sizes. Lauren has reported across a range of industries including mining and property.