De Beers (51%) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49%) have announced that the Gahcho Kué process plant has been commissioned, and that ore from the mine is now being fed to the process plant to signal the formal ramp-up of diamond production. The project remains on track to reach full commercial operation in the first quarter of 2017.
First ore was exposed at Gahcho Kué on 23 March 2016. The commissioning phase introduced ore into the Processing Facility from the Gahcho Kué pit on 20 June 2016 with the first commissioning carats being recovered on 30 June 2016. The mining operation has, to date, pre-stripped in excess of 20 million tonnes of waste material during the capital phase thereby ensuring sufficient exposed ore for production ramp-up.
Gahcho Kué, about 280km north east of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada, is the largest new diamond mine under construction anywhere in the world. It is expected to produce an average of 4.5 million carats per annum over the life of the mine.
Kim Truter, Chief Executive Officer, De Beers Canada, said Gahcho Kué will have a significant impact on the diamond industry: “Gahcho Kué will not only strengthen De Beers in Canada, but ensure Canada remains the third leading diamond producer, by value, in the world. We are excited to see this project move into the production phase and must congratulate our Gahcho Kué team and thank our community partners for helping us deliver this world-class mine.”