May 04, 2018

Production Commences at New Hearne Pit at Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada

Diamond mining activity at the Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada crossed a major new milestone with the commencement of production at the Hearne Pit, the second of three kimberlite pipes in the mine plan, De Beers Canada announced in a release earlier this week.

While Hearne is the smallest of three pipes scheduled to be mined at Gahcho Kué, it shows the highest grade at about 200 carats per 100 tonnes of kimberlite mined, De Beers said.

Hearne contains about 5.5 million tonnes of kimberlite ore and will be mined to a depth of 240 metres over the next four years. Prestripping of the overburden began earlier this year.

Mine General Manager Allan Rodel said, “What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that the team completed all the key preparation work safely during the extremely harsh and extended winter we experienced this year.”

The pit is located in the southwest corner of the mine site, approximately 380 metres from the current 5034 pit that launched production at Gahcho Kué in 2016. The Hearne pit is now being mined concurrently with the 5034 pit until 2019, when the Tuzo pit will join them to become the third pit in production, the statement said.

Kevin Gostlin, the mine’s Technical Services Manager, said, “Hearne is the smallest ore body in the mine plan but with the high grade adds a lot of value, which also gives us flexibility in our mining and processing.”

About 45 mn tonnes of rock will also be removed from the pit during mining, crushed to use around the site for building roads, berms, building pads and dykes or permanently deposited into an engineered mine rock storage facility.

In comparison, close to 10 mn tonnes of ore remains in the 5034 pit, which has been actively mined since 2016. Mining in 5034 will continue until 2024. The Tuzo pipe contains 16 mn tonnes of ore and is scheduled to be mined between 2019-2028.

An exploration drill programme is currently underway to determine if there are additional economic mining resources, other than the three which have already been identified, within the mine area.