Mining Updates

Bridging the Gap through Care and Collaboration: Before Closure and After Production

Wednesday, November 21, 2018 - 12:00 to 12:19 Theatre 2


M.H. Peters (Presenting)
De Beers Group, Snap Lake Mine

J. Henderson
Det'on Cho Corporation

Wikipedia defines ‘Care and Maintenance’ as a term used in the mining industry to describe processes and conditions on a closed mine site where there is potential to recommence operations at a later date. During a care and maintenance phase, production is stopped but the site is managed to ensure it remains in a safe and stable condition.

De Beers Canada Inc. - Snap Lake Mine entered the Care and Maintenance phase after production ceased in December 2015. The partnership with Det’on Cho Corporation provides for a sustainable execution of care and maintenance activities, taking into consideration approved work plans, mine health and safety considerations and emergency response plans. The mine is currently in its third year of care and maintenance. After exploring the potential sale of the asset and assessing the possibility of reopening the mine, the decision to proceed toward closure was taken in December 2017, ushering Snap Lake into a period of extended care and maintenance (ECM) while a closure plan is developed and finalized.

Activities during ECM include monitoring of water quality and other environmental parameters, collecting/treating effluent and making sure that water leaving the site meets water license compliance. Physical infrastructure such as the airstrip, roads, buildings, processed kimberlite containment facilities and associated surface water infrastructure such as sumps, pumps and channels need to be kept in a safe and operable condition. Camp infrastructure such as generators and machinery and equipment are also part of the Care and Maintenance program. Collaboration between the De Beers Canada owner’s team and Det’on Cho Corporation resulted in the safe execution of the 2018 work plan which included freshet operations, continued progressive reclamation work, monitoring and maintenance activities. After a trial-run of reduced camp occupancy in the winter of 2017, the site was fully winterized and demobilized in September 2018 to allow for monthly site visits for the duration of the winter and planning for a spring 2019 start-up.