Archive | Diamond Mining

Four greats to enter Canadian Mining Hall of Fame – by Northern Miner (October 29 – November 04, 2012)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

The Canadian Mining Hall of Fame will welcome four new inductees at its twenty-fifth annual induction dinner on Jan. 10, 2013, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The new inductees are Charles E. Fipke, Gerald W. Grandey, Pierre Lassonde and James C. O’Rourke. The Northern Miner is a sponsor of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame. For tickets and more information, visit

Geologists and prospectors had searched for diamond deposits in North America for more than a century with only teasing hints of success until discovering a cluster of kimberlites in the Northwest Territories that became Ekati, Canada’s first diamond mine. This groundbreaking discovery, synonymous with the name “Charles E. (Chuck) Fipke,” was the culmination of Fipke’s relentless pursuit of elusive diamond indicator minerals for hundreds of kilometres from the Mackenzie River Valley eastward to their source near Lac de Gras. Other key contributors in his quest were his associate, geologist Stewart Blusson, economic geologist Hugo Dummett and University of Cape Town professor John Gurney. The discovery’s epic success — achieved on a shoestring budget through innovative science — sparked a staking rush, inspired other discoveries and created a new industry for Canada.

Born in Edmonton, Alta., Fipke earned a B.Sc. degree in geology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1970. His adventurous nature took him to Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Brazil and other exotic locales, where he worked for senior companies such as Kennecott and Cominco, and became intrigued with the use of heavy mineral geochemistry as an exploration tool. Continue Reading →

Aroland diamond agreement a result of ‘taking time to listen,’ says Debut CEO – by Chris Kornacki (Wawatay News – September 13, 2012)

Northern Ontario’s First Nations Voice:

A diamond exploration company that recently completed an exploration agreement with Aroland First Nation says taking the time to build a respectful relationship was key to the deal.
Chris Meraw, President of Debut Diamonds, told Wawatay News the agreement proves that if companies take the time to get agreements in place with First Nations, both sides can benefit.
“We knew that the modernization of the Mining Act is under process and that you are going to need an agreement with the First Nation in order to use mechanized equipment on their traditional land,” Meraw said. “And we’ve always had a great respect for treaty rights and have built a tremendous relationship with the chief and community.

“The agreement is the result of both sides taking time to listen and discuss and reach an agreement that will benefit everyone,” Meraw said. “If you don’t talk, don’t consult and don’t communicate you’re really not moving ahead in any reasonable way.”
The agreement between Aroland and Debut was just one of two exploration agreements Aroland signed in August. The First Nation also signed an agreement with White Tiger Mining, a German exploration company, giving the company access to explore for gold, copper and silver on its Marshall Lake property 30kms west of Nakina. Continue Reading →

Remote Canadian diamond mines rely for supply on world’s longest ice road- by Levon Sevunts (Alaska Dispatch – September 2, 2012)

A late March blizzard has finished blowing over much of Canada’s Northwest Territories and Ron Near’s job just got more interesting. A retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, Near is in charge of the world’s longest ice road that connects Yellowknife, the territorial capital, to three diamond mines: Ekati, Diavik and Snap Lake.
The Tibbit to Contwoyto Winter Road – named after the first and the last lakes on the ice road – is a joint venture between BHP Billiton, which owns the Ekati Mine, the Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., which manages the Diavik mine, and DeBeers, which owns the Snap Lake Mine.
The ice road is the only overland resupply route for the mines. They depend on it to truck in a year’s worth of supplies and equipment: everything from diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate for mine explosives to earth moving machines.
And with the ice road open only eight to 10 weeks every year, resupplying the mines is a monumental logistical undertaking executed with military precision. Continue Reading →

Diamond mines create vibrant Canadian economy out of stagnation – by Levon Sevunts (Alaska Dispatch – September 1, 2012)

Business is booming at the Kingland Ford dealership in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Franky Nitsiza, who lives in the Dene community of Whatì, about 180 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife, has brought in his Ford F-150 truck for maintenance and is already shopping around for a new one.
Nitsiza has been working at BHP  Billiton’s EKATI diamond mine for 14 years and credits his job at the mine for the bit of prosperity he’s been able to enjoy. “It was a big learning experience for me, but I’ve worked my way up to become a team leader,” Nitsiza said while his family members looked around the showroom.
Brent Stevens, the general manager at Kingland Ford, said diamond mines have created many well-paying jobs in the region. The resulting business has helped propel Kingland into the 100 top Ford dealerships in Canada. It’s a no mean feat considering that the entire population of Northwest Territories is about 44,000 people.
“We obviously sell more cars and trucks if we have more customers that are employed,” Stevens said. Continue Reading →

Anglo CEO [Cynthia Carroll] Doubles Down on New Mines Amid Falling Demand – by Jeremy Kahn (Bloomberg Markets Magazine – September 2012)

Driving northeast from Santiago, the road corkscrews toward the shark’s-grin skyline of the Andes Mountains. In winter, Santiago’s smart set plies this route, heading for virgin-powder days and pisco-sour nights at La Parva ski resort. Most have no inkling that in a high mountain valley just over the ridgeline, excavators the size of houses have sculpted the mountainside into a steeply terraced pit 1,800 feet deep, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its September issue.

This is Los Bronces, one of the world’s richest copper mines. Anglo American Plc (AAL), the London-based company that owns Los Bronces, spent $2.8 billion from 2007 to 2011 to double the size of the mine. And Los Bronces is just one of four megaprojects that Anglo Chief Executive Officer Cynthia Carroll has initiated or pushed through construction since she took over in 2007 — each representing a wager in excess of $1 billion on the continued rise of China, India and other emerging markets.

Los Bronces is also at the center of a legal battle between Anglo and Codelco, the Chilean state-owned mining company. The dispute — over whether Anglo can block Codelco from exercising an option to buy half of Anglo’s Chilean subsidiary — has spooked Anglo investors and weighed on the company’s share price, which dropped more than 15 percent from the time the controversy erupted in October to August 8. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Debut Concludes Agreement With Aroland First Nation and Appoints Martin Doyle to the Board of Directors

TORONTO, ONTARIO – (Aug. 23, 2012) – Debut Diamonds Inc. (the “Company” or “Debut”), (CNSX: DDI), is very pleased to announce that it has concluded an Exploration Agreement with the Aroland First Nation (“Aroland”) in connection with the Company’s Nakina diamond exploration project located north of Nakina, Ontario.

The agreement includes benefits for the community of Aroland provided by way of Debut financial contributions in support of certain social and cultural programs, and also includes employment and service related business opportunities. In return, Aroland has approved and will continue to support the Company’s exploration activities for the duration of the project. The agreement provides for the proper handling and protection of any sacred or other culturally significant sites, and contains comprehensive plans for the prevention, mitigation and remediation of any environmental impacts which may result from the Company’s exploration activities in the field.

Chris Meraw, President of Debut Diamonds states, “Our agreement with Aroland emphasizes the need for mutual respect and a positive relationship between the parties during all phases of the project and while this approach not only brings economic opportunities to the community, it also provides an element of certainty for the company’s exploration work in the area.” Continue Reading →

Shore Gold to build Saskatchewan’s first diamond mine – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – August 2, 2012)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Driven by diamonds

The idea of finding diamonds in Saskatchewan was met with scepticism in the 1980s. A Russian geophysicist, Dr. J.G. Strnad, predicted the existence of diamondiferous kimberlites, noting the large geophysical anomalies in the province’s sedimentary basin. Knowledgeable diamond miners thought the anomalies too large to be kimberlites. The targets in Saskatchewan certainly were outside (and outsized) their experience in South Africa.
But Strnad was right. The first kimberlite in the Fort à la Corne area was drilled by De Beers in 1988. The next year a venture of Cameco and Uranerz drilled another. The properties were combined as the Fort à la Corne (FALC) joint venture in 1992. Ten years later the JV had a large number of targets, and prioritizing them was difficult.
Not so for Shore Gold of Saskatoon. The company drilled the Star kimberlite in 1996. With one good target, drilling expanded, and eventually in 2002 a bulk sample program was begun. Continue Reading →

Diamonds hit rough patch as demand falls – Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – July 18, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Harry Winston Diamond Corp. is grappling with rising diamond inventories and falling prices, as the slack global economy prolongs a year-long slump.

The Toronto-based gem company said on Tuesday that it would likely not sell all of its production in the fiscal second quarter ending this month, and that it expects to have higher-than-normal inventories as diamond cutters encounter difficulties arranging affordable financing.

“The rough diamond market has experienced softened demand since the beginning of the year,” Harry Winston said in a report. The premier diamond jeweller and luxury retailer – with locations in fashion capitals from New York and Beverly Hills to Paris, Beijing and Hong Kong – estimated that market prices have dipped 8 per cent since April.

Diamond prices are still struggling to recover since falling off a cliff over a year ago, when the global economic outlook darkened suddenly, spoiling the plans of speculators who had stocked up in anticipation of a stronger economic recovery after the 2008-09 crisis. Continue Reading →

Diamond mines in Canada at risk – by Matthew McClearn (Canadian Business Magazine – May 04, 2012)

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada.

Diamonds are symbols of permanence. Some—thought to have arrived on meteorites—may be 10 billion years old, more ancient than the planet itself. The fortunes of diamond mines, by contrast, can be protean. That’s worrisome for the Northwest Territories, home to Canada’s two largest diamond mines, Ekati and Diavik. Since November, their majority owners (multinational mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, respectively) both have commenced reviews of their diamond operations, effectively putting both mines up for sale. Some analysts speculate these reviews could result in individual mine sales or initial public offerings of entire diamond divisions.
Canada’s diamond industry has also reached a crossroads, for related reasons. It’s been more than two decades since geologists Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson discovered diamond-rich kimberlites in the N.W.T., sparking the biggest staking rush in Canadian history. Their Ekati mine, developed in partnership with BHP, opened in 1998. Rio’s Diavik followed in 2003. It’s tough to understate these mines’ impact on an industry characterized for most of the 20th century by monopolistic practices. By the early 2000s, Canada had become the world’s third-largest diamond-producing nation, behind Botswana and Russia. Our mines helped break the famed De Beers cartel.
It couldn’t last forever, though. In 2007, two men pondered the industry’s future. Tom Hoefer, then manager of public affairs at Diavik, warned at a conference that the industry needed to ramp up exploration. Canada’s mines were all old discoveries, and it was taking ever longer to bring new ones into service. Continue Reading →

Innovative CSR solutions for troubled Attawapiskat – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – April 5, 2012)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Older CMJ readers will remember how the mining companies built remote projects in the middle of the last century. First they found and explored a deposit far from civilization. Next they made a development decision that included building a local town for the workforce. They moved their employees and their families into the town. When the ore ran out, the company moved on leaving the town with little or no economic basis for survival.
Thankfully, we now have better development model, one that does not abandon towns when mining ceases. Modern miners have invented what the Australians call FIFO, meaning fly-in/fly-out operations. We in Canada were pioneers in this practice. Workers are flown to the mine site for periods ranging from days to weeks. They are put up in modern accommodations, well fed, and given plenty of recreational opportunities. Then they fly out, returning to families and homes in usually in the south. Their families enjoy the amenities of city living including educational and employment opportunities. Such opportunities were lacking in small northern mining towns.
The FIFO model works well in developed countries, but it is not appropriate in undeveloped regions. Indigenous peoples in Africa and South America, for instance, do not want to leave their homes for extended periods or they wish to continue their traditional way of living. Canadian miners have again become leaders in the art of giving such people an economic or educational hand up without destroying their culture. Continue Reading →

Ontario Mining Association member supports First Nation community infrastructure

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario Mining Association member De Beers Canada has helped enhance the infrastructure of the First Nation community of Attawapiskat over the winter.  De Beers Canada’s support of 370 kilometres of winter roads facilitated the arrival of needed new housing in the community and more than 1,100 tonnes of rock, which was donated, to provide the foundation for the construction of a new elementary school.

The 1,100-plus tonnes of rock were from the Victor pit.  It was crushed at the mine site over a 24-hour per day, four day period and shipped 90 kilometres east to Attawapiskat.  It was vital to get this building foundation material to the community before the winter road closed for the season.

De Beers Canada contributes substantial funding to the First Nation owned and operated 280 kilometre section of the winter road from Moosonee north to Attawapiskat.  The company contributes 100% of the funding to build and operate the 90 kilometre section of the road from Attawapiskat west to the Victor Mine site.  Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Stornoway Signs Impacts And Benefits Agreement For The Renard Diamond Project

March 27, 2012

Stornoway Diamond Corporation (TSX-SWY) is pleased to announce that it has entered into an Impacts and Benefits Agreement for the Renard Diamond Project with the Cree Nation of Mistissini (“CNM”) and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) / Cree Regional Authority (“GCC(EI)/CRA”).

The new agreement, designated the “Mecheshoo Agreement”, was signed by representatives of Stornoway and the Cree parties at a ceremony held in Mistissini, Quebec earlier today in the presence of community members, members of the local “Tallymen” family, regional dignitaries and media. 

The Mecheshoo Agreement is a binding agreement that will govern the long-term working relationship between Stornoway and the Cree parties during all phases of the Renard Diamond Project. It provides for training, employment and business opportunities for the Crees during project construction, operation and closure, and sets out the principles of social, cultural and environmental respect under which the project will be managed. The Mecheshoo Agreement includes a mechanism by which the Cree parties will benefit financially from the success of the project on a long term basis, consistent with the Mining Industry’s best practices for engagement with First Nations communities. Continue Reading →

Stornoway wins ‘social licence’ in talks with Cree for Quebec diamond project – by Nicolas Van Praet (March 27, 2012)

 The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

MONTREAL – At a time tension between First Nation communities and the resource sector remains high in many parts of the country, one junior company is bending traditional corporate practice in an attempt to win a “social licence” for Quebec’s first diamond mine.
Stornoway Diamond Corp. on Tuesday signed a binding agreement with the Cree Nation of Mistissini and the Grand Council of the Crees for its Renard diamond project in the Otish mountains of northern Quebec. The deal governs the long-term working relationship between the miner and the Cree parties throughout the project’s development, up to and past its projected startup in 2015.
The agreement is unusual for the level of detail it discloses — a summary says the company will reserve a quarter of the Renard goods and services contract bidding invitations for Cree businesses, set up a mechanism allowing the Cree to benefit financially from the success of the mine over its estimated 20-year lifespan, and consult the aboriginal tallymen in the territory on no-fly zones into the mine site during spring goose and fall moose hunt seasons. Continue Reading →

First Nations becoming major economic players – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – February 24, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

GDP from Aboriginal communities larger than some provinces

These are “exciting times” for business opportunities in First Nation communities, a gathering of chiefs, business leaders and economic development officials in Timmins were told Thursday.

Clint Davis, president and chief executive of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, cited several factors that have aligned enabling First Nation communities to become major economic players, if they play their cards right.

It seemed fitting that Davis would be speaking about growing economic development opportunities for First Nations as the keynote speaker at an event hosted by the CreeWest Limited Partnership. CreeWest is a Moose Factory-based charter airline service that arose from the economic opportunities created by the start-up of De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine in Attawapiskat six years ago.

It is widely known First Nation communities are the fastest growing demographic in the country. Continue Reading →

Diavik releases 2011 annual socio-economic report

This news item originally came from the January 2012, Northern Mining News, published by the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines.

Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., operator of the Diavik Diamond Mine, has released its 2011 socioeconomic monitoring agreement report, which provides a detailed summary of northern training, employment, and business benefits.

Highlights include:

• Training: As part of the mine’s continuing commitment to support northerners in developing trade skills, Diavik and minesite contractors supported 34 apprentices in 2011. All are northern and 19 are Aboriginal. Additionally, four northerners successfully completed their apprenticeships bringing the total number of Diavik apprentices to have achieved journeyperson certification to 31. Continue Reading →