Shareholders of Canadian mining company Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) are seeking to revise the terms of a joint venture established in 1997 with De Beers after the firm’s alleged failure to develop what is said to be one of the world’s largest diamond deposits.

De Beers has a 51% controlling stake of Gahcho Kué diamond lode near to Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It is estimated to contain 47 million carats of diamonds.

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Past criticism of De Beers for stockpiling diamonds to keep prices high has led some MPD shareholders to allege that the company is delaying development of Gahcho Kue to limit the market supply of diamonds.

De Beers says the $180m invested in the mine shows its commitment to the project and attributes the delay to the difficult mining conditions of sub-Arctic Canada.