De Beers Group announced that its Victor mine in northern Ontario, Canada, will complete mining and production activities in the first quarter of 2019, once the current open pit is depleted and in line with the original feasibility study and current mine plan.
Production at Victor mine commenced in July 2008. The mine was forecast to produce six million carats during its mine life and has already exceeded these projections, producing approximately seven million carats to date, and it will continue to operate at full production throughout its remaining life.
The Victor mine team has been recognised for its exemplary performance throughout the life of the operation, with the mine being named International Mine of the Year in 2009 and twice receiving the John T. Ryan National Award for the safest mine in Canada, in 2015 and 2016.
De Beers developed a detailed mine closure plan before Victor mine opened and progressive reclamation work has already been taking place at the mine for several years. To date, this has included the planting of more than 200,000 tree saplings and willow stakes that were harvested and grown locally through a community youth work programme.
Once the mine pit has been depleted in 2019, the demolition and environmental monitoring phase is expected to take three to five years. De Beers is working closely with community partners to create opportunities for employment and awarding contracts that will be required during this phase.
Kim Truter, Chief Executive, De Beers Canada, said: “Victor mine has made a significant contribution to De Beers and to Canada, and the Victor mine team has consistently delivered the highest standards of performance and safety. While we are focused on continuing to maintain production for the duration of operations, we are also planning responsibly for Victor mine’s closure in line with the agreed mine plan and our commitment to leaving a positive legacy.”
De Beers has been operating in Canada since it carried out its first exploration programme in 1961. The Victor kimberlite cluster discovery in 1987 by De Beers Exploration was the first economic diamond discovery in Canada. In 2016, De Beers with its joint venture partner, Mountain Province Diamonds, opened the Gahcho Kué diamond mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the largest new diamond mine to open in more than a decade.