De Beers Moves Toward Definitive Closure of Snap Lake Mine, Canada

Mining and Exploration
29/12/2017 13:15

De Beers Canada has notified the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board it intends to file a final closure and reclamation plan for its defunct Snap Lake diamond mine, writes CBC News from Canada. The process started out in 2015 as a care and maintenance operation to wait for a possible market rejuvenation or a buyer to come forward. Neither happened and in 2016 the company decided to flood the underground portions of the mine. On December 14, the company requested to forego filing an interim closure plan - which would have essentially extended care and maintenance at the site - in favour of filing a final closure plan in 2019. "Until that plan is submitted, it is premature to discuss what final closure will look like or what the associated costs will be," said De Beers spokesperson Terry Kruger in an email to CBC.

Snap Lake was De Beers' first diamond mine outside of Africa, according to the company's website. It is located 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. It opened in 2008 and was expected to produce diamonds for 15 years. In 2014, the mine produced 1.2 million carats of diamonds. In December 2015, De Beers announced it was closing the mine and laying off 434 workers. The closure came in the wake of a downturn in diamond prices and water problems at the mine that required an amendment to the mine's water licence. At the time, De Beers Canada CEO Kim Truter described Snap Lake mine as a "troubled operation" since it opened. Once the closure is complete, De Beers will be down to two diamond mines in Canada: Victor in Northern Ontario and Gahcho Kué in the Northwest Territories, the latter a joint venture with Mountain Province Diamonds, in which it has a 51% stake.