Production at De Beers’ Victor Mine in northern Ontario has officially come to an end after almost 11 years of operations. Located in the James Bay Lowlands, 90 km (56 mi) west of Attawapiskat First Nation, the site was the province’s first and only diamond mine.
“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,” said Kim Truter of De Beers Group Canada. “This historic run has sadly now come to an end.”
The final load of ore was removed from the mine in March. On May 26, the last economic ore was processed through the plant, followed by several days of low-grade ore and limestone to help purge the plant of any remaining diamonds.
Since construction began, De Beers Group has invested $2.6 billion to build and operate the mine. Of that sum, $820 million has gone toward Indigenous and local businesses in northern Ontario, the company reports. Further, De Beers Group has contributed $110 million in royalties to the Ontario Government, as well as $100 million in corporate social investment and payments to communities.
“Not only was this Ontario’s first and only diamond mine, Victor is the foundation for our company’s success in Canada and continued to demonstrate that strong performance to the very end as the team managed to extend production almost four months longer than originally expected,” said Truter.
During the course of its operation, the Victor Mine was recognized with several local, national, and international awards, including four John T. Ryan Trophies in recognition of outstanding safety.
At the end of its production, the mine employed approximately 170 people, supported by approximately 134 contractors.
“The Victor team is like an extended family and everyone really pulled together during the past few months to take us safely over the finish line,” said Alistair Skinner, the mine’s manager of operations. “Our first priority was to make sure everyone finished work injury free, whether it was the mining team working in the confines of the bottom of the pit or the maintenance team achieving zero harm during the final plant shutdown.”