Commercial production has started at Gahcho Kué, one of the world’s largest diamond mines located in Canada's Northwest Territories (NWT).
The mine is owned by a joint venture of De Beers group and Mountain Province Diamonds.
De Beers holds 51% stake in the JV, with the remainder held by Mountain Province Diamonds, reported Australianmining.com.au.
Gahcho Kué is expected to produce nearly 54 million carats of diamonds over its 12-year mine-life.
De Beers Group CEO Bruce Cleaver said: “Today marks a significant landmark for De Beers in Canada as Gahcho Kué becomes an important contributor to the Group’s global production. That the mine has reached this landmark, on budget and ahead of schedule, is testament to the partnerships that have worked together since construction began.
“It’s a result of these partnerships that the mine is set to deliver socio-economic benefits of more than C$5bn to the economy of the Northwest Territories over its lifetime.”
The official opening ceremony of the mine was held in 20 September, last year.
Mountain Province Diamonds president and CEO Patrick Evans said: “The dedicated support of our shareholders, business partners and employees has made today’s important achievement possible.
“Gahcho Kué is a rich diamond deposit that secures Canada’s position as one of the world’s leading diamond producers. Our thanks and appreciation goes to our operating partner, De Beers Canada, for delivering the Gahcho Kué mine safely and ahead of schedule.”
The mine is located nearly 280km north-east of Yellowknife in the NWT. It comprises three open-pits and employs 530 full-time workers.
According to a socio-economic impact report, in addition to a C$440m boost to the NWT economy through 2015, the Gahcho Kué mine will provide a further C$5.3bn in gross value added (GVA) to the NWT now that it has reached commercial production.
Image: Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada starts commercial production. Photo: courtesy of De Beers Group.