De Beers Group and its partner Mountain Province Diamonds have begun commercial production at the C$1bn ($762m) Gahcho Kué diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Upon reaching full commercial production scheduled in Q1 of next year, the mine will produce an average of 4.5 million carats per year over its anticipated life of 13 years.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “Starting the ramp up to production at Gahcho Kué on time, on budget, and in a challenging environment is a remarkable achievement from the team.

“The mine is an exceptional resource in terms of carat volume, value, and its potential to create meaningful economic opportunity for the surrounding community.”

The mine is said to be the largest new diamond mine under construction.

First ore at Gahcho Kué was exposed in March following which the mine entered commissioning phase in June this year.

Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani said: “Our successful development of Gahcho Kué is testament to the technical expertise of the entire project team, the sensitive approach we take towards our surroundings, and the strength of the relationship with the community local to the operation.

“Discovering and bringing to fruition a new source of diamonds of this quality reminds us all of the rarity value of diamonds.”

Located about 280km north east of Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwest Territories, the Gahcho Kué mine is 51% owned by De Beers Group of Companies while Mountain Province Diamonds holds the remaining 49% stake.

Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers, while the remaining 15% is owned by the Government of the Republic of Botswana (GRB).

Image: The Gahcho Kué mine located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Photo: courtesy of De Beers UK.