De Beers Canada is studying an expansion of its Victor diamond mine in northern Ontario. A second open pit at the operation, 6.5 km northwest of the current pit, would add roughly seven years to the mine life at a mining rate of 9,000 tonnes per day.
The current pit will be exhausted in five years’ time.
An environmental assessment of the extension began in June.
A final decision on the extension hasn’t been made as the project is still in the advanced exploration stage. Tom Ormsby, director of external and corporate affairs, told CBC News in August that a decision was at least 18 months away.
De Beers’ 51%-owned Gahcho Kué project, 80 km away from its Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories, won federal approval in October.
In other De Beers news, the company is also investing US$2 billion to extend its Venetia mine in South Africa underground, and US$3 billion to expand the famous Jwaneng mine in Botswana.
Lastly, De Beers has completed the transfer of sorting, grading and sales facilities to Gabarone, in Botswana, from their historic location in London. In return for the move, De Beers has secured a 10-year contract to sort, value and sell diamonds from Debswana’s mines in Botswana. Debswana is a 50-50 joint venture between De Beers and the government of Botswana.
In the first three quarters of 2013, De Beers produced 22 million carats of diamonds, up 11% from the same period of 2012.