Open pit mining gave Diavik access to the diamond-bearing kimberlite ore beneath Lac de Gras. Diavik open-pit mined three kimberlite pipes, called A154 North, A154 South, and A418 from 2003 to 2012.
A fourth pipe, A21, continues to show potential.
All three kimberlite pipes will be mined from underground. The transition to an all underground mine was completed in 2012.
A range of heavy duty equipment is used to mine for diamond-bearing ore. These include:
- Komatsu 830E haul trucks, each with a 218 tonne payload;
- Hitachi EX 3600 excavator with a 20m3 bucket and a 35 tonne payload;
- Hitachi EX 1900 excavator with a 12m3 bucket and a 22 tonne payload;
- Terex RH200 hydraulic excavator with a 21m3 bucket;
- LeTourneau front-end loader, with a 20m3 bucket and a 35 tonne payload;
- D75EX Driltech blasthole drills;
- Komatsu HD785 haul trucks, each with a 90 tonne payload; and
- Bulldozers, wheeldozers, graders, backhoe and loaders.