Sudbury

DeBeers processes last of the ore at Victor diamond mine

After being open for more than 10 years, the last bit of profitable ore has been processed at Ontario’s only diamond mine.

Mine opened almost 11 years ago in northern Ontario

After a decade of pulling out rock from the Victor open pit mine near Attawapiskat, DeBeers has shut down its Ontario diamond mine. (Erik White/CBC)

After being open for more than 10 years, the last bit of profitable ore was processed at Ontario's only diamond mine.

DeBeers says production at its Victor diamond mine wrapped up on Sunday. That was followed by several days of low-grade ore and limestone being processed to "help purge the plant of any remaining diamonds."

Mining activities stopped at the site in March when the focus shifted to processing the remaining surface ore stockpiles. A shutdown process will take place until the end of June.

"This is a bittersweet moment for our company as we celebrate the great work done by the Victor team that began when the mine opened and continued right up until the moment the conveyors stopped in the plant," Kim Truter with the company said. "This historic run has sadly now come to an end."

The company says through the first quarter of 2019, 8.1 million carats of diamonds were recovered from the mine. A final count of the total production will be available in July when the company reports its second quarter results.

Initially, the company had hoped to develop a nearby deposit called Tango. However in 2017, the company said the economics "simply didn't stack up."

DeBeers had also encountered some challenges in securing support from the local First Nations, but the company said that didn't impact the final decision.

The company says when production ended, it employed about 170 people at the mine, in addition to 134 contract workers.

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