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De Beers to Open Snap Lake, Victor Diamond Mines This Week

Jul 24, 2008 3:51 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT...  De Beers Canada will officially open the Snap Lake diamond mine July 25, and the Victor diamond mine on the following day.

Snap Lake is approximately 220km northeast of Yellowknife,  Northwest Territories, and will become the first De Beers mine outside of southern Africa. Snap Lake is Canada's first fully underground mine -- it will employ  560 people during production, and will have an annual production rate of 1.4 million carats.

Victor is located in northeastern Ontario and will be the first diamond mine in that province. Victor will employee 400 people during production and will have an annual production rate of 600,000 carats.

"Everyone has worked very hard to bring the Snap Lake and Victor mines into production," said Jim Gowans, president of De Beers Canada. "It has taken us several years and over $1 billion to build each mine, and along the way, we have built strong relationships with local communities and upheld the highest environmental standards. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished."

Operations at the mines will bring employment and economic growth, training and education, and business opportunities for remote Aboriginal communities in Canada, De Beers stated.

"Between Snap Lake and Victor mines, over $650 million dollars has been spent with aboriginal business. De Beers contributes to sustainable communities and economies wherever we operate and we are proud of the relationships we have developed," said Gowans.  "We believe that meaningful consultation is required to develop mutual trust and long-term cooperative relationships with Aboriginal communities."

De Beers has signed four Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) for Snap Lake including one with the Yellowknife Dene First Nation (November 2005,) and others with the Tlicho Government (March 2006,) the North Slave Metis Alliance (August 2006,) and Lutsel K'e and Kache Dene First Nation (April 2007.)

There are three signed agreements with Victor including an IBA with the Attawapiskat First Nation (November 2005,) a Working Relationship Agreement with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation (May 2005,) and an IBA with Moose Cree First Nation (September 2008.)

De Beers is also committed to supporting the secondary diamond industry in Canada. As such, agreements have been reached with the governments of the Northwest Territories and Ontario for De Beers to make available for sale 10 percent of diamonds from the mines,  by value, to provincially approved manufacturers who have successfully fulfilled the Diamond Trading Company's client selection criteria.



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Tags: De Beers, De Beers Canada, Government, Production
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