SYDNEY, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Global miner BHP Billiton announced on Wednesday that it is reviewing the sale of its Canadian diamond assets, which include the EKATI Diamond Mine and the Chidliak exploration project.
In announcing the review, BHP Billiton said the company's strategy is to invest in large, long life, upstream and expandable assets while remaining a simple and scalable organization.
"EKATI is a world class operation and Chidliak is a promising exploration opportunity, but many years of extensive exploration suggest there are few options to develop new diamond mines that are consistent with this approach," BHP said in a statement on Wednesday.
"This review will, therefore, examine whether a continued presence in the diamonds industry is consistent with BHP Billiton' s strategy and evaluate the potential sale of all or part of the diamonds business," the miner said.
BHP said it would continue to operate its diamonds business if the bids received did not meet the criteria of protecting the mine 's safety, environmental standards and benefits created from the mine for local communities.
The miner said the review is expected to be completed by the end of January 2012.
BHP Billiton owns 80 percent of the EKATI Diamond Mine in Canada's Northwest Territoies, which has produced an average of over 3 million carats of rough diamonds a year over the last three years, with annual sales representing about 10 percent of global diamond supply by value.
BHP Billiton also owns a 51 percent stake in Chidliak, a joint venture with the Canada-based mineral exploration company Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. on Baffin Island in Nunavut, Canada. The project has been operated by Peregrine since 2006.