North

De Beers diamond mines win industry awards for safety record

The Gahcho Kué diamond mine in the N.W.T. had zero lost-time injuries in 2019; the Victor mine in Ontario went 97 per cent of all days worked with no lost-time injuries.

Gahcho Kué and Victor mines both multiple year safety award winners

Haul trucks lined up for pre-operation safety check at the De Beers/Mountain Province Gahcho Kué diamond mine in in early February. The mine was awarded a national safety award for its record in 2019. (Submitted by De Beers Group)

The De Beers Gahcho Kué and Victor diamond mines have received industry awards this year for their safety records.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) has named the N.W.T.'s Gahcho Kué mine as the national 2020 John T. Ryan award winner for the lowest reportable injury frequency in the previous year.

According to a press release from De Beers Thursday, the mine "reduced the number of injuries by 38 per cent compared to 2018 and had zero lost-time injuries during the year."

The company states that this means Gahcho Kué has "one of the lowest injury frequency rates among operating mines in Canada."

This is the fourth safety award for the mine. In 2016 and 2019, the mine won the Workplace Health and Safety award from the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce, and the mine won the 2017 Hatch-CIM Mining and Metals Project Development Safety Award.

The De Beers/Mountain Province Gacho Kué diamond mine in the Northwest Territories. (Submitted by De Beers Group)

The Gahcho Kué mine is at Kennady Lake, approximately 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. The $1.1 billion mine went into commercial production in March 2017, and is expected to remain in production until at least 2030. The mine is a joint venture project between the De Beers Group, which owns 51 per cent of the operation, and Mountain Province Diamonds, which holds 49 per cent. De Beers is the mine operator.

The 100 per cent De Beers owned Victor mine in northern Ontario is in its closure phase. For that mine, De Beers was named the 2020 eastern regional John T. Ryan Award winner. This is the third consecutive year De Beers took the regional award for the Victor mine operation. Previously De Beers won the national John T. Ryan award for Victor in 2015 and 2016.

According to De Beers, "97 per cent of all days worked during 2019 [at Victor] were 'triple zero' with no first aids, no medical aids, and no lost-time injuries."

"To have both our Canadian operations recognized as being among the safest mines in the county is an outstanding achievement," stated Mpumi Zikalala, a managing director with De Beers, in the press release.

"I have all confidence that the Gahcho Kué team will continue to be the mining safety leader in Canada."

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gahcho Kué mine has remained in operation, along with the Diavik Diamond Mine, in co-operation with N.W.T. Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

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