NORTHWEST TERRITORIES - The move to underground mining at the Diavik diamond mine near Lac de Gras has been approved by the partners, RIO TINTO of London, U.K. (60%) and HARRY WINSTON DIAMOND CORP. (formerly Aber Diamond Corp., 40%). The project carries an estimated cost of US$563 million over the next two years.
Under the current life of mine plan, diamond production from underground would begin in 2009 and continue beyond 2020. Underground mining would access the A-154 North kimberlite and its higher value diamonds. Open pit mining is expected to cease in 2012. The total mine life remains within the 16 to 22 years projected in the original feasibility study of 1999.
To support underground mining, Diavik must construct new surface facilities including a crusher and paste backfill plant, expand its water treatment and power generating plants, and construct ancillary facilities including fuel and cement storage, and additional accommodation facilities. Approximately 20 km of underground development will be necessary to bring the new mine into production.
This significant new investment in underground mining will provide training, employment and business opportunities in addition to those significant benefits that Diavik already provides. Diavik remains firmly committed to continuing its work with local communities and governments to meet its socio-economic and its environmental commitments.
At present, production principally comes from the A-154S open pit, with A-418 being prepared for open pit mining in 2008. Since the mine began production in 2003, all production from A-154S and A-154N has been open pit mining, and has resulted in the extraction of 35.4 million ct of diamonds through July 31, 2007.
The photo gallery posted at www.Diavik.ca is worth taking a few minutes to view.