De Beers Canada Inc. operator of the Gahcho Kué diamond Project in NWT has entered into an Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation. The agreement puts in place a framework for De Beers and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation to work together over the life of the mine and it enables participation by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation in the opportunities that the mine provides.
DeBeers has also signed IBAs with the North Slave Metis Alliance and the Tłıcho Government. The company received the green light from the Environmental Impact Review Board.
Gahcho Kué is located at Kennady Lake, approximately 280 km northeast of Yellowknife and 80 km southeast of the Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories. The project will employ close to 700 people during the two years of construction, expected to start in 2015, and close to 400 people during its operational phase. The Gahcho Kué life of mine is approximately 11 years in duration and will mine about 31 million tonnes of ore containing an estimated 49 million carats. The mine is estimated to cost between C$600 million-C$650 million including construction, working and sustaining capital.
Gahcho Kué is a joint venture between De Beers (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%) and is located 280 km northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Gahcho Kué is the traditional Chipewyan, a Dene people, name for the Kennady Lake area and in Dene Suline means “Place of the Big Rabbit”. Exploration work began twenty years ago. The area is only accessible by air, or more recently, by winter road. There were 4 kimberlite pipes under Kennady Lake, yet only one pipe contains diamonds that are worth mining. There will be three pits for mining the pipe. Source d) provides a link to a video on the project.
Global diamond retail sales are estimated at $72B. In the world diamond retail market, Asia in 2005 made up 23% of purchases. In 2020, they will make up 57%. Of the world’s mined diamonds 30% are gem quality, 70% industrial use.
Gahcho Kué is an important project for the NWT, as its three existing diamond mines near the end of their lives. Although not as big as Ekati or Diavik, Gahcho Kué is a new mine coming on stream when closures are due. As well it is located adjacent to another promising project called Kennady North.