De Beers’ Gahcho Kué diamond mine has expanded its resources with the start of mining operations in Hearne Pit, the second of the mine’s three kimberlite pipes. Containing 5.5 million tonnes of kimberlite ore, this pipe is the smallest of the three, but provides diamond of the highest grade, with about 200 carats per 100 tonnes of mined kimberlite.
“The high grade adds a lot of value, which also gives us flexibility in our mining and processing,” said Kevin Gostlin, Gahcho Kué’s technical service manager.”
Hearne is to be mined concurrently with the first pit to a depth of 240 m (787 ft) over the next four years. Next year, the third pipe, Tuzo, will enter production.
“I want to congratulate the Gahcho Kué team for achieving this latest significant milestone,” said Allan Rodel, general manager for the mine. “What makes this accomplishment even more impressive is the fact the team completed all the key preparation work safely during the extremely harsh and extended winter we experienced this year. Their commitment to putting safety first for each and every task was instrumental in their successful performance, and we continue to grow our safety maturity as we take on each new and exciting challenge and opportunity.”
To view the first blast at Hearne Pit, see the video above.