Skip to content

Takes two to Tango

DeBeers cites lack of First Nation support for shelving project
3. Crossworks Victor rough
Rough diamonds from the Victor Mine.

Reuters reported that De Beers Canada is shelving plans for an expansion to its Victor diamond mine, west of Attawapiskat, citing lack of community support.

The Victor Mine, located in the remote James Bay lowlands, is scheduled cease production at the end of 2018.

The adjoining Tango deposit would have added five to six year of mine life, De Beers Canada Victor Mine general manager James Kirby told Reuters.

But the environmental assessment could not proceed without support from the Attawapiskat First Nation, a community of 2,000, some 90 kilometres to the east. DeBeers needs to take a bulk sample from the wetlands.

The diamond miner has endured a shaky relationship with DeBeers over the years as the community has struggled with a spate of housing and social issues.

Kirby told Reuters that recent talks with the First Nation did not show any signs of progress.

The project is not permanently shelved but delays could cause a production gap as the Victor operation draws to a close.

Current plans are to dismantle the operation.

Kirby said DeBeers may consider offers to buy the mine, which currently employs 550 staff and contractors. Attawapiskat band administration did not respond to calls from Reuters.