Victor’s closing sad, but inevitable: Mayor Black – by Len Gillis(Timmins Daily Press – November 3, 2017)

ATTAWAPISKAT – Feeling disappointed but not completely surprised is the reaction from Timmins Mayor Steve Black on the announcement that De Beers Canada is shutting down its Victor diamond mine near Attawapiskat.

De Beers chief executive officer Kim Truter made the announcement at a news conference in Timmins Wednesday afternoon. He said the economics of the mine would soon be no longer sustainable and the plan is to cease operations in the first quarter of 2019.

“The Victor shutdown news didn’t necessarily catch us off guard,” said Black. “It’s something we have been discussing with the mine for the last couple of years with their timelines and whatnot.”

Black said the mining community was aware that De Beers had been trying to get the Tango Extension, a nearby smaller diamond deposit up and running but it did not happen as the company had hoped.

“We knew if they didn’t get an agreement in place with the government and the communities there, to bring Tango online over the last couple of years, that it was likely that project wouldn’t be economical enough to go ahead on its own.”

Black said the city was concerned enough that it advised Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Ontario cabinet ministers in the past two years that the mine would face an eventual shutdown.

“It is disappointing from a Timmins perspective obviously. They are a big part of our mining supply industry. A lot of the companies do business with them, as well as the employees that worked there from Timmins too. A good percentage of their workforce comes from the Timmins area.”

Black was also philosophical like many in the mining industry who are aware of the reality that all mines eventually close. He said Victor “was a tremendous mine” as is the Kidd operation in Timmins, which Black said is also approaching end of life in another four or five years.

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