JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – After reaching 80% completion at its joint venture Gahcho Kué diamond mine, located on the Canadian tundra, TSX- and Nasdaq-listed Mountain Province Diamonds (MPD) would now, over the next six months, focus on commissioning the primary crusher and diamond plant, as well as prepare for operational readiness.
The project was progressing according to plan and budget and was on track for first production in the second half of 2016, the company said in a statement.
MPD was advised early last week of the planned cessation of operations at De Beers’ Snap Lake mine and the opportunities this would afford selected Snap Lake employees to be hired at Gahcho Kué. Forty-one Snap Lake employees were transferred to Gahcho Kué and a further 60 would be transferred next year as the mine prepared for production.
MPD held 49% of the mine, with De Beers Canada owning the balance.
“The regrettable decision relating to Snap Lake will have no impact on plans for the Gahcho Kué mine. On the contrary, Gahcho Kué will benefit from the availability of trained and experienced employees, who are being transferred to Gahcho Kué to support operational readiness,” De Beers Canada CEO and Gahcho Kué JV management committee chairperson Kim Truter commented.
MPD president and CEO Patrick Evans further noted that procurement under the capital programme was 99% complete and preparations for the 2016 ice road deliveries were also well advanced.
“The project continues to meet our lending group’s tests-to-completion and the final 2015 drawdown against the project finance facility has occurred. During the year, a total of $158-million was drawn against the $370-million facility. Mountain Province is fully funded to commercial production and also has a $75-million cost overrun facility in place,” he added.