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The frozen tundra of northern Canada might not be the first place you’d look for a diamond mine. Diamonds are created under intense heat and pressure, yet here they are being mined in a cold, icy region.

These mines are located about 320 kilometers (200 miles) northeast of Yellowknife and just 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of the Arctic Circle. The tundra here consists of boulder fields, wetlands, and over 8,000 lakes with interconnecting streams. The lakes are visible in the images as the numerous dark shapes.

The two diamond mines visible in these images are Ekati and Diavik, both located in Northwest Territories, Canada. Ekati is in the northern part of the images. Diavik is in the southern portion and extends into the lake in the series of images.

Most of the year, these mines are accessible only by air. An ice road is open for about 10 weeks of the year during winter. No other roads reach the mines.

Imagery

Every picture has a story to tell
Aug. 17, 1997, Landsat 5 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
Aug. 1, 2000, Landsat 7 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
July 22, 2002, Landsat 7 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
June 23, 2006, Landsat 5 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
Aug. 13, 2013, Landsat 8 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
July 13, 2016, Landsat 8 (path/row 44/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
Aug. 14, 2022, Landsat 9 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada
Aug. 14, 2022, Landsat 9 (path/row 45/15) — Diamond Mines, Northwest Territories, Canada

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References

BE Mining, 2011, Diavik Diamond Mine—Overview: available online at http://www.bus-ex.com/article/diavik-diamond-mine-overview. (Accessed June 27, 2014.)

Carlson, J.A., Ravenscroft, P.J., Lavoie, C., and Cunning, J., 2016, Ekati Diamond Mine, Northwest Territories, Canada: NI 43-101 Technical Report, Dominion Diamond Corporation, accessed April 19, 2018, at https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/841071/000106299316011480/exhibit99-1.htm.

CNW, 2014, Dominion Diamond Corporation Issues Updated Mine Plans for the Ekati and Diavik Diamond Mines: available online at http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1299501/dominion-diamond-corporation-issues-updated-mine-plans-for-the-ekati-and-diavik-diamond-mines. (Accessed June 27, 2014.)

Diavik Diamond Mines, Inc., [n.d.], The Unique Facets of Diavik—Canada’s Premier Diamond Mine: Diavik Diamond Mines Inc./Rio Tinto Diamonds N.V./Aber Diamond Corporation, 34p.

Dominion Diamond Corporation, 2012, Ekati Diamond Mine Environmental Agreement and Water Licence Annual Report Summary 2012: Dominion Diamond, 25p.

Gray, Todd, 2014, Canadian Diamonds: NiceIce Web page at http://niceice.com/canadian-diamonds/. (Accessed June 26, 2014.)

Mining-technology.com, 2014, Ekati Diamond Mine, North-West Territories, Canada: mining-technology.com Web page at http://www.mining-technology.com/projects/ekati/. (Accessed June 26, 2014.)

Pope, A., and Carlowicz, M., 2014, Diamonds in the Sub-Arctic Rough: NASA Earth Observatory, available at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=84085&eocn=home&eoci=iotd_grid. (Accessed August 12, 2014.)

PR Newswire, 2013, Dominion Diamond Corporation Issues Reserve and Resource statement for the Ekati Diamond Mine: available online at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/dominion-diamond-corporation-issues-reserve-and-resource-statement--for-the-ekati-diamond-mine-204566581.html (Accessed June 27, 2014.)

Radio Canada International, 2012, Canada’s Ice Road to Diamonds: Radio Canada Web page at http://www.rcinet.ca/english/daily/reports-2012/14-26_2012-11-19-canadarsquo-s-ice-road-to-diamonds/. (Accessed June 26, 2014.)

Rio Tinto, 2009, Diavik Diamond Mine Fact Book: Rio Tinto, 20p.

Shigley, J.E., Shor, R., Padua, P., Breeding, C.M., Shirey, S.B., and Ashbury, D., 2016, Mining Diamonds in the Canadian Arctic—The Diavik Mine: Gems & Geology, v. 52, no. 2, accessed April 4, 2017, at https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/summer-2016-diamonds-canadian-arctic-diavik-mine.

Winter Road Joint Venture, [n.d.], The Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road: Web site at http://www.jvtcwinterroad.ca/. (Accessed June 27, 2014.)

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