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Victor diamond mine has life until 2019

De Beers said Far North open pit “exceeded” production expectations
Victer mine open 6
Victor open-pit mine, west of Attawapiskat (De Beers Group photo)

Mining and production at the remote Victor diamond mine in the James Bay region will finish during the first quarter of 2019, the De Beers Group announced Nov. 1.

The international diamond miner expects the deposit will be depleted at that time.

The mine commenced operations in July 2008 and was originally forecasted to product six million carats during its mine life.

The company said in a news release that Victor “exceeded these projections,” producing approximately seven million carats to date.

The remote fly-in/fly-out open pit is 90 kilometres west of the James Bay coastal community of Attawapiskat.

The initial discovery was made in 1987 with the uncovering of a kimberlite cluster by De Beers Exploration. Victor was the first economic diamond discovery in Canada.

Once the mine pit has been depleted in 2019, the demolition and environmental monitoring phase takes place and is expected to last three to five years.

De Beers said it’s committed to hiring locals and area companies in creating jobs and awarding contracts during that closure phase.

A mine closure plan was prepared before Victor began operations and reclamation work has been ongoing at the mine site for several years, including planting more than 200,000 tree saplings and willow stakes.

“Victor mine has made a significant contribution to De Beers and to Canada, and the Victor mine team has consistently delivered the highest standards of performance and safety,” said De Beers chief executive Kim Truter in a statement.

The Victor mine team was named International Mine of the Year in 2009 and twice received the John T. Ryan National Award for the safest mine in Canada, in 2015 and 2016.

“While we are focused on continuing to maintain production for the duration of operations, we are also planning responsibly for Victor mine’s closure in line with the agreed mine plan and our commitment to leaving a positive legacy,” added Truter.