The Renard diamond mine, in the James Bay territory of Quebec, will not reopen yet, despite the province’s government announcing that mining activities can restart as essential services.
Diamond miner Stornoway is keeping Renard on care and maintenance, given the structural challenges still affecting diamond market sales, as well as the depressed prices for diamonds owing to Covid-19.
The decision to keep operations suspended will impact nearly 540 people and only a team of 50 will remain on site to assume the care-and-maintenance activities, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The unprecedented global events we are experiencing have unfortunately led the board of directors to take this difficult decision impacting our employees and a number of our valued stakeholders.
“The diamond market has proven over time to be resilient and prices have recovered following economic downturns,” commented Stornoway president and CEO Patrick Godin.
The company stressed that the pandemic had led to the entire marketing chain and diamond price collapsing.
Global travel bans are limiting access for buyers to diamond sightings in Antwerp, Belgium, physical distancing measures and poor financial market conditions are affecting the rough diamond polishing operations and general economic conditions have impacted adversely on retail diamonds and prices.
Meanwhile, many other mines in Quebec, including the Canadian Malartic and Lamaque mines, have announced that they are reopening on Wednesday, in line with the provincial classification of mining as an essential service.