The Snap Lake diamond mine will be placed “on care and maintenance” and all mining has stopped, owner De Beers confirmed on Friday.
More than 400 staff will go, the company announced, though De Beers said employees affected will receive salaries and benefits for 16 weeks. Of those losing their jobs, 100 are from the North.
In a statement, De Beers said the decision “follows a review of the mine’s operation, particularly in light of current market conditions”.
The company says it will continue to evaluate the market over the next year “to determine the potential of the ore body as a viable mine”.
According to De Beers, work to bring production to a halt at Snap Lake will take between one and nine months and keep around 120 staff employed for the time being.
Environmental monitoring and work required to satisfy regulators will continue, but no actual mining will take place from now on.
Keeping Snap Lake in care and maintenance mode will require around 70 staff, said the company, while 41 employees have been moved across to the Gahcho Kue mine – which is under construction – with immediate effect. Another 60 may be able to transfer across in the next year
“Regrettably, 434 employees have been notified that they will not be required for the closure and maintenance work,” said De Beers.
“The men and women at Snap Lake have put enormous effort into this challenging ore body over many years, but even the gains made this year are not enough to overcome the market conditions and put us in a profitable position,” said Kim Truter, De Beers Canada’s chief executive, in a written statement.
“To see such a strong commitment to the mine makes today’s announcement that much more difficult.”
Snap Lake had been due to remain operational until 2028, having opened in 2008.