The Gahcho Kué diamond mine located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. Photo courtesy of DeBeers Canada.
The Gahcho Kué mine could provide a $6.7 billion boost to the Northwest Territories economy over its lifetime, according to a report by De Beers’ Canada.
The report, which provides an update on the company’s various projects across Canada, says that De Beers has employed at least 2,000 people at the mine, or more than 10 per cent of employment in the NWT’s extraction industries.
“It’s important that De Beers can provide a comprehensive story of our contribution to Canada and the regions we operate,” said Kim Truter, the CEO of De Beers Canada.
Located 280 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife, the Gahcho Kué mine is a joint venture between De Beers Canada and Mountain Province Diamonds.
The mine is set to officially open later this month as the world’s largest new diamond mine under construction. The site was first discovered in 1995 and has been undergoing development and construction ever since.
According to Wednesday’s report, Gahcho Kué has already provided $440 million to the NWT economy between 2006 and 2015 , but nearly 90 per cent of the mine’s economic impact will happen once the mine becomes fully operational in 2017.
“The number one priority now is to ramp up production,” said Truter. “Then the focus will be on keeping it running sustainably and maximizing local employment.”
Despite the expected surge in employment and diamond production with Gahcho, De Beers says extractive industries have fallen from 40 per cent of economic activity in the NWT in 2007 to around 23 per cent in 2015, likely a result of a drop in commodity prices.
GAHCHO KUÉ TO PICK UP SLACK FROM SNAP
Earlier this year, De Beers announced they were putting the company’s Snap Lake diamond mine up for sale after an unprofitable production run.
The company now plans on flooding the mine since no potential buyer has been confirmed – a move that can preserve the mine’s tunnels for future production. If the mine is purchased, the buying company would be required to cover the costs of dewatering the underground tunnels.
Roughly 1,300 workers were employed with the Snap project before it was shut down, but those numbers will be picked up by Gahcho Kué, according to De Beers.