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First Vehicle Marks All-Season Passage on Stornoway's Renard Road

Sep 3, 2013 1:02 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... Stornoway Diamond Corporation opened the Renard diamond mine road to construction traffic two months ahead of schedule, marking the first all-season transit option for  vehicles from Temiscamie, at the end of the existing public highway, to the Renard project site 240 kilometers to the north. The road is not completed for public use yet, but all temporary bridges have been completed, nine of 16 permanent bridges have been installed and more than 80 percent of all culverts have been installed, according to the company.

Road construction began in February 2012 as the "Route 167 Extension" and under the terms of an agreement between Stornoway and Quebec, the government completed the first 143 kilometers of road as a 70-kilometer-per-hour,  two-lane gravel highway and Stornoway  oversaw construction of a 50-kilometer per hour single-lane mining road over the remaining 97 kilometers. The cost of the Renard mine road was initially estimated at $77 million, including a 15 percent contingency.

Matt Manson, the president of Stornoway, said, "With today's news, it is now possible to drive directly to the Renard project by permanent road. The connection of each construction segment has been achieved two months earlier than expected and well ahead of the fourth quarter of 2013 schedule established when construction of Stornoway's portion of the road began in April. We are also forecasting final completion of the Renard mine road within budget. These achievements have been made possible by the strong performance of our construction contractors, all of whom are Cree or locally operated businesses, and the professionalism of Stornoway's construction management team based in Longueuil, Quebec."

The Renard project is expected to produce up to 2 million carats of diamonds per year at full capacity with annual revenue of approximately $450 million. Project financing discussions with lenders and prospective investors are ongoing and progressing well, according to Manson, ''with a view to first construction mobilization prior to the end of 2013.''

Stornoway prioritized contracts with local businesses in the James Bay Region of Quebec, in particular those associated with the Crees of Eeyou Istchee. Contractors included The Eskan Company, the Development Corporation of the Cree Nation of Mistissini, and Swallow-Fournier Inc. for road construction; Nordic Structures Bois, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chantiers Chibougamau Ltee, for bridge construction; Jos Ste-Croix & Fils Ltee of Chibougamau for construction management; The Eenatuk Forestry Corporation for tree clearing; The Kiskinchiish Corporation for camp services and catering and Petronor, a wholly owned Cree enterprise, for fuel supply.


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Tags: construction, cree, diamonds, Jeff Miller, mining, quebec, renard road, stornoway
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