Canadian Mining Journal

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DIAMOND DEVELOPMENT: Gahcho Ku advances to next stage

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - Toronto-based partners De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%) are taking the Gahcho Kué project to the next stage with the preparation of a plan and budget for mine development. The project is...



NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – Toronto-based partners De Beers Canada (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%) are taking the Gahcho Kué project to the next stage with the preparation of a plan and budget for mine development. The project is located at Kennady Lake 280 km northeast of Yellowknife and 80 km southeast of De Beers’ Snap Lake diamond mine.

The original discovery was made by Mountain Province in the 1990s, and in 1997 De Beers bought its share of the partnership. The Gahcho Kué project was overshadowed for several years by De Beers’ Victor diamond mine in Ontario, and falling diamond prices after the global financial meltdown of 2008 further delayed moving the project forward. Now, with prices on the rise and a positive feasibility study completed last year, the project is again moving ahead. Three kimberlites – the 5034 pipe, Tuzo and Hearne – have been tested.

Information posted on De Beer’s website (www.DeBeersCanada.com) says that construction at the site will take two years and between $550 million and $650 million in 2010 dollars.

Open pit mining is planned beginning with the 5034 pipe and using conventional trucks and shovels. A 3-million t/y processing plant will be built with three-stage crushing, dense media separation, and x-ray/grease diamond recovery circuits. A 14.1 MW diesel power plant, 1,350-metre gravel airstrip, truck shop, emulsion plant, 40 million litres of fuel storage, and a 432-bed accommodation/office complex will also be built. A 120-km winter road will be used.

Extensive information about the project is available at both the De Beers website and that of Mountain Province, www.MountainProvince.com.

The name Gahcho Kué means “a place where there are big rabbits or hares” in Chipewyan.