Giant reach extends

South African diamond mining giant De Beers is to extend its dominance of the international diamond market with a C$167 million hostile bid to acquire a majority shareholding in the Snap Lake diamond project, in the Canadian North West Territories.

De Beers has made a cash offer of C$4.25 per share to the shareholders of Winspear, a Canadian-listed exploration company with a 67.76 per cent stake in Snap Lake.

The project is well advanced with production at a rate of 18 million carats per year expected after 2002, and contains 12.6 million tonnes grading at 1.75 carats per tonne.

Diamonds recovered from bulk sampling are valued at US$118 per carat, placing an insitu value of US$2.6 billion on the deposit.

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