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Heavy Traffic Expected on Canada's Diamond Ice Road

Feb 3, 2015 4:45 AM   By Ronen Shnidman
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RAPAPORT... The winter ice road leading to the diamond mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories is expected to experience near-record levels of traffic this year due to activity at the Gahcho Kué project.

The seasonal road opened this Sunday and close to 9,500 trucks are expected to move 335,000 metric tonnes of supplies across the route over the next two months, the CBC reported. In 2007, when De Beers Snap Lake diamond mine was under construction, the seasonal road saw its largest volume of traffic – 10,922 truckloads.

De Beers is the operator and 51 percent stakeholder in the Gahcho Kué mine, which is scheduled to open in the second half of 2016. The remaining 49 percent is owned by Mountain Province Diamonds.

Bob McLeod, premier of the Northwest Territories, said this past week that his provincial government is considering plans to transform the first 150 kilometers of the seasonal ice road into a permanent, all-weather road. McLeod told the CBC that such a project would expand the life of the province’s diamond mines and promote new exploration and mine development activity in the region.

Between $16 million and $20 million is spent every year to build and maintain the 400 kilometer-long ice road, according to information provided by the road’s manager to the CBC.

De Beers, Dominion Diamond Corporation and Rio Tinto jointly fund the road’s operations because it significantly reduces transportation costs for bringing supplies to the Diavik, Ekati, Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué mines. Without the seasonal road, supplies would have to be transported to mine locations by air.
Tags: De Beers Canada, Diavik, Gahcho Kue, northwest territories, Ronen Shnidman, Snap Lake
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