As first announced last February, De Beers is moving ahead with its plans to flood the underground workings of Snap Lake Mine as part of its extended care and maintenance program for the mine in Canada's Nortwest Territories, which began in December 2015. The company's statement reads, "This extended care and maintenance programme will preserve the long-term viability of the ore body and reduce costs while mitigating environmental risks associated with maintaining dormant operations. The flooding project will take approximately six to eight weeks to complete, after which Snap Lake Mine will enter a long-term phase of care and maintenance primarily focused on environmental monitoring activities. De Beers will run a winter road program in Q1 2017 to remove some inventory and equipment offsite and bring in fuel supplies to the site.
"Before ultimately determining that putting Snap Lake Mine on extended care and maintenance was the most responsible and viable route forward, De Beers engaged with external parties interested in potentially acquiring the mine. However, no agreement could be reached. Extended care and maintenance will preserve the significant diamond mineral resource in the ground in the Northwest Territories until market conditions and improved technical methods make the kimberlite more economic to operate.
Snap Lake Mine currently employs 55 people. The workforce required once the flooding project is complete will be approximately 35 people. Employees who are displaced will receive consideration for alternate placement at other De Beers facilities where skill sets and vacancies match. Where job opportunities are not immediately available, employees will receive as much notice as possible and a fair and respectful severance package that exceeds regulatory requirements."