TORONTO—Despite De Beers’ “tough” decision to idle its Snap Lake Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories late last week, the construction of the nearby Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine will not be impacted, the companies responsible for the major development project have said.
In fact, Snap Lake’s closure, which resulted in the loss of 434 jobs, may actually benefit Gahcho Kué and some of the now-unemployed miners.
“The regrettable decision relating to Snap Lake will have no impact on plans for the Gahcho Kué mine,” Kim Truter, chairman of the Gahcho Kué JV Management Committee and CEO of De Beers Canada, said. “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.”
Gahcho Kué is being developed jointly by De Beers, which owns a 51 per cent stake, and Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. The mine is located on federal land in N.W.T., approximately 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and 90 kilometres east of the Snap Lake mine. The project is the world’s largest new diamond mine currently under construction; it is nearly 80 per cent complete and on track to begin producing gems in the second half of 2016.
“We continue to make excellent progress at Gahcho Kué. Key areas of focus over the next six months are commissioning of the primary crusher and diamond plant, as well as preparation for operational readiness,” Patrick Evans, Mountain Province president and CEO, said.
And some former Snap Lake employees have already secured positions at the new facility. 41 employees have already been transferred to Gahcho Kué, and 60 others will begin working at the mine next year as it prepares to begin production.