De Beers puts shuttered Snap Lake diamond mine up for sale
Company hopes to find buyer before flooding of mine begins in fall
De Beers is putting the N.W.T.'s Snap Lake diamond mine up for sale.
The company began suspending operations at the unprofitable mine, located 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, in December.
Since then it's been planning to flood the underground workings of the mine to cut down on costs. That flooding is set to begin by October or November.
"Before it gets flooded, if anyone has that interest, now's the time to raise your hand," said Tom Ormsby, a spokesperson for De Beers Canada.
- Flooding Snap Lake diamond mine could take more than a year, says De Beers
- N.W.T. braces for economic sting of Snap Lake mine shutdown
The company is open to selling the mine after flooding begins, but whoever buys it would have to shoulder the extra cost of dewatering the underground tunnels.
Still lots of diamonds left
Ormsby says Snap Lake still has 20 to 30 million carats in the ground — enough to sustain production for 12 years.
"We still think there's a future for that ore body," he said.
In December, the company said it would revisit the idea of reopening the mine within a year.
Ormsby said that economic evaluation remains ongoing, but added, "There's always been the understanding that [selling] is one of the options that has been on the table for a long time as a possible future for Snap Lake."
De Beers' second N.W.T. diamond mine, Gahcho Kue, is still expected to open later this year.
As of March, 96 former Snap Lake workers had been transferred to Gahcho Kue, which is currently in the final stages of commissioning.