Construction of DIAVIK DIAMOND MINES (60%) and ABER DIAMOND MINES (40%) project at Lac de Gras is nearing completion on schedule and within budget. To the end of last year, spending totaled $1.22 billion. The total budget is $1.25 billion. Commercial production, which will peak at over 6 million carats per year, is anticipated within the next six months.
Work is proceeding on several fronts. Overburden removal from the A154 open pit mine is proceeding. Commissioning of the processing and recovery plans began in November, and the rate is increasing as feed becomes available. As diamonds are recovered they are cleaned, valuated for Canadian royalty purposes, and sent to the project partners.
The total on-site workforce peaked at approximately 800 workers during the fourth quarter of last year. Northern participation is about 44%.
As part of its efforts to provide business and employment opportunities to the North, Diavik has awarded mining operations contracts to a number of aboriginal and northern companies including Denesoline Western Explosives (explosive), Exploration Medical Services (medical services), G&G Expediting (offsite logistics), Tli Cho Logistics (site services), Kingland Ford Sales Ltd. (light vehicle maintenance), I&D Management Services Ltd. (mine equipment operators), SecureCheck (security services), Fountain Tire Mine Services Ltd. (tire management), A&A Technical Services (geochem), Ollerhead & Associates Ltd. (land survey), RTL Robinson Enterprises (trucking services) and Tli Cho Landtran (trucking services).
In December, Diavik announced a training partnership with global engineering firm Hatch Associates. Under the new Young Engineers for Tomorrow program, Diavik and Hatch Associates will encourage and support northerners to pursue professional engineering careers. Students who qualify will be eligible for financial support at selected Canadian universities offering co-op engineering programs. While working towards engineering degree certification, participants will have the opportunity to gain relevant work experience and exposure in various works settings at Diavik and within Hatch’s organization across Canada.
Three years’ of mine construction photos and many, many others are available at www.diavik.ca . Canadian Mining Journal’s February 2003 will feature the Diavik mine as it approaches commercial status.