Production commences at the world's largest diamond mine
The mine, a joint...
Gahcho Kué, the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years, officially began commercial production on March 2 2017.
The mine, a joint venture with De Beers Group (51 per cent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent), is expected to produce approximately 54 million carats of rough diamonds over its lifetime.ii
Production ramp up began on 1 August 2016 and the official opening ceremony took place on 20 September 2016, with 200 guests in attendance from across Canada and around the world.
Bruce Cleaver, CEO, De Beers Group, 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$5 billion to the economy of the Northwest Territories over its lifetime.”
Kim Truter, CEO, De Beers Canada, said: “With Gahcho Kué achieving commercial production, it successfully builds on the transformation of De Beers in Canada. General Manager Allan Rodel and his entire team are to be congratulated for completing this milestone safely and ahead of schedule during the extreme winter conditions that have taken place over the past few months.”
Patrick Evans, President and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds, added: “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 fly-in/fly-out remote mine site is situated approximately 280km northeast of Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories (NWT) of Canada. Comprising three open pits, the mine will employ 530 people full-time, with the majority working a two-week in/two-week out rotation.
In addition to a C$440 million boost to the NWT economy through 2015, the Gahcho Kué mine will provide a further C$5.3 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA)iii to the NWT now that it has reached commercial production, according to a socio-economic impact report by EY.
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Zimbabwe targets £8.8bn mining industry by 2023
Zimbabwe’s government plans to fast-track exploration, evaluation and digitalisation of selected reserved mining areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as part of wider measures to achieve a £8.8 billion mining industry by 2023, according to a senior government minister.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said other plans include stopping the issuance of special grants in the reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development until the exploration and evaluation is complete and a robust value addition program for diamonds is implemented.
Mutsvangwa was speaking at a post-cabinet media briefing on December 15.
She adds that the issuance and renewal of special grants for energy should also be based on the financial and technical capacity to value add all types of coal, as well as for ideal exploration of Coal Bed Methane.
For renewal of special grants, consideration should take into account the period the Special Grant has been held as well as plans with milestones for value addition of the special grant, Mutsvangwa says. She adds that the Zimbabwean government expects gold to drive the mining sector in order to achieve the ambitious target, with the precious metal expected to contribute approximately £2.96 billion to the overall target.
Mining is one of Zimbabwe’s major contributors to its economy, alongside agriculture, which is the mainstay. The mining sector accounted for more than 60 percent of the country’s foreign currency receipts in 2019, and contributed around 16 percent to national Gross Domestic Product, the Chamber of Mines says.
The country’s mining industry is focused on a diverse range of small to medium mining operations. The most important minerals produced in Zimbabwe include gold, asbestos, chromite, coal and base metals.
Zimbabwe expects its economy to expand by 7.4 percent in 2021 from a projected contraction of 4.5 percent this year, due to the effects of drought and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
When presenting the 2021 National Budget in November this year, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said that the mining sector is projected to rebound by 11 percent next year after surviving a COVID-19 induced shock that saw the sector contract by 4.7 percent in 2020. In September, mining bans in national parks were introduced, according to news agencies.
He added that the National Budget would allocate £1 billion towards the operations of the ministry for planning, promotion and exploration, data capturing, and automation, among other key mining processes.
Other factors necessary for the achievement of the £8.8 billion target include a stable macroeconomic environment, policy consistency, and availability of long-term capital to fund mining projects along the entire mineral value chain, the minister said.
Stopping "illicit financial flows" from gold smuggling is another key issue to address, according to media reports.