The mining newspaper for Alaska and Canada's North

Key Snap Lake workers sent to Gahcho Kué

The De Beers Group of Companies Dec. 4 announced that it is placing the Snap Lake diamond mine on care and maintenance.

The company said it will evaluate market conditions over the next year to determine the potential of resuming operations at the underground mine in Northwest Territories.

The process of suspending production at Snap Lake is underway.

During the care and maintenance period, environmental monitoring and work required under the mine's permits will continue.

Suspension work requires roughly 120 employees and the care and maintenance phase will require about 70 employees.

De Beers transferred 41 of the Snap Lake workers to Gahcho Kué, a diamond mine development project located about 80 kilometers (50 miles) to the east, with the potential for another 60 to transfer at some point in 2016.

Another 434 employees have been notified that they are losing their jobs.

"The men and women at Snap Lake have put enormous effort into this challenging ore body over many years, but even the gains made this year are not enough to overcome the market conditions and put us in a profitable position," explained De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter.

Gahcho Kué, a joint venture between De Beers Canada (51 percent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 percent) - is more than 80 percent complete and remains on track for first production during the second half of 2016.

Truter, who is also chairman of the Gahcho Kué JV management committee, said, "The regrettable decision relating to Snap Lake will have no impact on plans for the Gahcho Kué mine.

On the contrary, Gahcho Kué will benefit from the availability of trained and experienced employees who are being transferred to Gahcho Kué to support operational readiness." This group of experienced diamond miners will help commission the primary crusher and diamond plant in preparation for the start of commercial production at Northwest Territories newest diamond mine.

Mountain Province President and CEO Patrick Evans said, "We continue to make excellent progress at Gahcho Kué." Mountain Province is fully funded to finance its portion of bringing the mine to commercial production.

Author Bio

Shane Lasley, Publisher

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Over his more than 16 years of covering mining and mineral exploration, Shane has become renowned for his ability to report on the sector in a way that is technically sound enough to inform industry insiders while being easy to understand by a wider audience.


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