BHP Billiton has sold its diamonds business after the company announced it has signed agreements with Harry Winston Diamond Mines for a reported US$500 million.


The agreement will see Harry Winston assume all of BHP Billiton’s obligations in the EKATI Diamond Mine Environmental Agreement with the Canadian Government.


BHP Billiton Diamonds & Specialty Products President Tim Cutt said: “We are very proud of EKATI’s track record and the substantial value it has created for the region and our shareholders.  The mine’s success is a credit to the people who work there, at Yellowknife and with the marketing team in Antwerp.”


BHP Billiton Chief Executive Non-Ferrous Andrew Mackenzie said: “The divestment of EKATI is consistent with our focus on large, long-life, low-cost, expandable, upstream assets and, together with the recent sale of our interests in Richards Bay Minerals and Yeelirrie, reflects our ongoing pursuit of a simpler business.”


Subject to regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to be completed early next year.