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De Beers to Ramp Up Production at Snap Lake Mine

Dec 6, 2009 4:18 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... De Beers Canada is planning to ramp up production at its Snap Lake mine, creating an additional 175 jobs at the operation. The company expects Snap Lake mine to reach full capacity toward the end of 2012, a level that represents four times its current output.

“Our decision to increase production is consistent with our business strategy to align production with global demand,” said Jim Gowans, the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of De Beers Canada. “Although our industry might not see the same sales levels in the next few years that we enjoyed in 2007 and early 2008, we anticipate a steady growth in demand over the next three or four years and the long term looks bright.”

De Beers Canada will also resume a construction project at Snap Lake that was put on hold in 2008 in response to the economic downturn; the project will now provide permanent accommodation for its employees. The company had also limited production during the downturn, enforcing a six-week closure at its Snap Lake and Victor mines from July through August of 2009. In the wake of this closure, however, De Beers Canada cancelled a second planned four-week closure of Snap Lake this month due to the improved outlook for rough diamond demand.

Brad Corrigan, Snap Lake mine's general manager, said the company used the period of limited production to build its investments and develop a strategy for the Northwest Territories (NWT), where the mines are located. He noted that the new strategy will include a long-term recruitment and training program.

The company has also added a new component to its underground mine training program that offers students the practical opportunity to work as De Beers employees for 12 weeks under the guidance of company trainers, who will train, test and certify them based on the Ontario Common Core standard. The first student intake to incorporate this new training and certification program will commence in January 2010, the company stated.

De Beers Canada currently employs 440 people at Snap Lake, 44 percent of whom are NWT residents. When the mine achieves full production toward the close of 2012, it will employ 634 people, according to the company.
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Tags: De Beers, De Beers Canada, Production
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