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De Beers suspends operations at Snap Lake diamond mine in Northwest Territories

Sudarshan Sitaula
|Dec 7|magazine6 min read

Another business and its employees are feeling the effects of Canada’s troubled exploration industry. This week De Beers announced that it has made the decision to put its Snap Lake diamond mine “on care and maintenance,” with mining operations ceasing immediately, in light of a recent review of the mine’s operations and current market conditions.

Though mining operations are already suspended, De Beers expects wind down efforts to last between one and nine months—after this, maintenance work and environmental monitoring will still continue in respect to the terms of De Beers’ mine permits.

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Of course, mine care and maintenance requires much less manpower than active exploration. De Beers has stated that its suspension activity will require 120 employees, while maintenance and care will call for 70 employees to remain on the site after suspension is complete. The company is transferring 41 employees to its Gahcho Kué Diamond Project, 85 km southeast of Snap Lake, and may transfer another 60 over the course of 2016 if conditions permit.

As for the rest—De Beers stated that, regrettably, 434 employees have been informed that their services will no longer be needed during this care and maintenance period, proving that the oil and gas industry is not the only exploration sector looking forward to additional layoffs and salary freezes in the coming year.

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 “The men and women at Snap Lake have put enormous effort into this challenging ore body over many years, but even the gains made this year are not enough to overcome the market conditions and put us in a profitable position,” said Kim Truter, Chief Executive of De Beers Canada. “To see such a strong commitment to the mine makes today’s announcement that much more difficult.”

[SOURCE: Mining Global]