This morning, Dominion Diamond (DDC:TSX), the operator of the Ekati mine which was Canada’s first diamond mine, announced that it had come to an agreement with Chuck Fipke to buy his remaining 10% participating interest in the mine for $67 million.
Charles E. (Chuck) Fipke’s Dia Met Minerals discovered what would become the Ekati Mine in the Northwest Territories in 1991, which sent not only the value of Dia Met shares but also Mr. Fipke’s carried interest to the stratosphere.
The Chairman and CEO of Dominion Diamond, Robert A. Gannicott, said: “Although the sale by Chuck Fipke of his interest in the Ekati project ends his financial involvement with Canada’s first diamond mine, his contribution to its discovery and success goes well beyond that. The history of Canadian mining is full of stories of accidents of fate leading to discoveries but the discovery of diamonds in the Slave geological province is a story of years of dedicated technical work led by a focused technical expert with unwavering belief in the outcome.”
The Ekati mine is comprised of the Core zone, which includes the current operating mine and other permitted kimberlite pipes, as well as the Buffer zone, which is an area hosting kimberlite pipes next to the Core zone.
Dominion Diamond holds an 80% participating interest in the Core zone, with Mr. Fipke’s C. Fipke Holdings Ltd. holding a 10% participating interest and Dr. Stewart Blusson holding the remaining 10% participating interest.
Dominion (which was formerly Harry Winston Diamonds) holds a 58.8% participating interest in the Buffer zone, with Mr. Fipke holding another 10% participating interest. Archon Minerals Ltd. holds the remaining 31.2% participating interest.
Mr. Fipke has agreed to sell his 10% interest in the core zone for US$50 million and will be payable over 31 months in cash or shares. He has agreed to sell his interest in the Buffer zone for US$17 million payable in cash.
Below is a short video made by the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame with Mr. Fipke describing the Ekati discovery story. Its great: