De Beers Will Flood Snap Lake Mine

Toronto: One year after deciding to place it on care and maintenance, De Beers is putting its Snap Lake Mine in the Canadian subarctic on extended care and maintenance – a euphemism for flooding.

Work on flooding the tunnels of the shuttered diamond mine will start in early January and is expected to take between six and eight weeks.

The Canadian division of the privately-held De Beers Group said the decision was made to flood the mine after it was unable to find a buyer. Plagued by engineering challenges, the mine has never turned a profit since the operation started in 2008. Snap Lake was the firm’s first diamond mine outside of Africa, and Canada’s first primary underground diamond mine. The mine, located about 220 km northeast of Yellowknife, employed 747 workers and produced 1.2 million carats in 2015.

The main problem with the $2-billion mine relates to the seeping of groundwater into the mine, which is actually under a lake.