De Beers halts exploration of diamond mine near Attawapiskat, Ont. (CBC News Sudbury – February 08, 2016)

Bulk sampling of mine extension may be pushed back as First Nation voices concerns

The De Beers diamond company has ceased exploration of the Tango extension near the Victor mine due to local pushback. The Victor mine is located in the James Bay lowlands of northern Ontario, and is the province’s only diamond mine.

DeBeers is hoping to extend mining operations into a nearby deposit called Tango, but first needs to determine it’s feasibility. The company said the exploration is required as the Victor mine enters its final years.

Tom Ormsby, a spokesman for De Beers Canada, said the company has halted its plan to take a bulk sample of the new mining grounds.

The work will be delayed until next winter if it doesn’t get done soon, Ormsby said, adding this “last batch of exploration” requires 100 days while the muskeg is frozen to do the work necessary.

The Attawapiskat First Nation is divided in support of the project, which is located on traditional land in northern Ontario roughly 90 kilometres west of the community. Last month, a sacred fire was lit on the winter ice road by protestors to voice concerns about economic and environmental issues associated with the mining project.

But Ormsby noted that pursuing the Tango expansion is the most cost-efficient scenario for De Beers as the Victor mine is set to close in 2018 and any production delays would make the project more expensive. The extension would serve to lengthen the life of diamond mining in the James Bay lowlands.

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