Harry Winston circling Canadian diamond mine?

Jeweller reported to be mulling BHP’s majority stake in Ekati mine.

US jewellery brand Harry Winston is considering making a bid for a majority stake in a Canadian diamond mine, according to a report by CTV News.

The Canadian TV news channel has claimed that a source close to the deal has described Harry Winston as “kicking the tires” at the Ekati diamond mine in Canada and could be among several potential suitors waiting to place a bid for BHP Billiton’s (BHP) majority stake in the business should it be up for sale.

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BHP announced last year that it is considering pulling out of diamonds and has since sold off its majority stake in the Chidliak project in Canada. However, analysts are warning any potential suitors not to expect a sale too soon as BHP has suggested it could hold onto its stake in Ekati until 2019 unless presented with a very attractive offer.

In October Harry Winston described its rough diamond division as delivering a solid performance. It said its mining business is “modestly ahead” of its production plan and at the time it had approximately US$112 million (£71.6m) of rough diamond inventory at June sales prices.

Also last year, Harry Winston chief executive Robert Gannicott told news service Reuters that he was not interested in buying up another producing mine but was instead looking for development-stage assets.

Both BHP and Harry Winston have declined to comment on the article.

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