Building the worlds largest new diamond project in northern Canada

first_imgGahcho Kué, jointly owned by De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%), is the world’s largest and richest new diamond mine. The project is located 280 km northeast of Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories. It will be the fourth diamond mine developed in the Northwest Territories, and the fifth north of the 60th parallel, since the early 1990s. This will be the third diamond mine in Canada for De Beers. The company currently operates the fully underground Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories and the open-pit Victor mine in the James Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario. Hatch began working on the project with process plant designs in 2010, followed by a 2013 FEL3 study that Hatch produced in a joint effort with JDS Mining. The company was awarded a full contract in January 2014 for project implementation.With site access completely dependent on air service for 10 months each year, all heavy equipment, most bulks, and fuel supply can only be transported by ice road during the short time it is open in February and March. With such a narrow window of opportunity, frequent storms, and white-out conditions, any delay had the potential to seriously jeopardize the project schedule. Therefore, the most challenging aspect so far has been the meticulous logistics and contingency planning for the successful winter road campaigns. In 2015, over 2,000 truck loads travelled the 420 km ice road to the Gahcho Kué project site. They included heavy, pre-constructed, extra-wide loads, construction materials, and 24 million litres of fuel.Site activities are progressing in three phases. The first began in December 2013, comprising early works to prepare the site for Phase 2 construction, which started this year. In January 2014, we were awarded the full contract for project implementation. Hatch’s scope includes design and development of the processing plant and all support facilities to accommodate 600 personnel at peak construction during the Arctic summer in mid-2015 and, for continuous operation thereafter, about 250 full-time employees per rotation at the fly-in/fly-out remote work site.The process plant is designed to handle 3 Mt/y of ore, while the mining operation must move some 30 Mt/y of rock to access the kimberlite orebody. Processing is scheduled to begin in 2016 with an initial mine life of 11–12 years.last_img

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