Even before its official opening in the summer of 2008, De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine had started making valuable contributions to Ontario’s economy and playing a major role in regional development — That record of positive impacts on the society and economy of Ontario continues. .
The Victor Mine, which is located about 90 kilometres west Attawapiskat, is Ontario’s first and to date only operating diamond mine. The Victor Mine is also the only diamond mine in Canada south of the 60th parallel of latitude. The company’s recently released 2011 year in review report provides an update on many of these contributions. De Beers Canada, which has its head office in Toronto, operates two diamond mines – Victor in Ontario and Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories – and is a joint venture partner in the Gahcho Kue Project in the NWT.
“It is inspiring to see the way our team works together to achieve remarkable results, while improving our overall safety performance,” said Tony Guthrie, President and CEO of De Beers Canada. “We will continue to focus on sustainable growth of our Canadian assets through clear objectives and aggressive targets, both at our operations and in the field, which will position De Beers Canada for the next 20 years and beyond.”
De Beers Canada employs approximately 1,023 people of which about 440 work at the Victor Mine. The Victor workforce includes more than 180 Aboriginal employees, or more than 40% of total employees. In 2011, the company paid total wages and benefits of more than $142 million and about $55.5 million of that total was paid to Victor employees.
At the Victor site, in 2011, $101 million was spent on goods and services with about $57 million, or 57%, being provided by Aboriginal businesses. At the corporate level, expenditures with Aboriginal businesses totaled $97 million and the company provided $5.3 million to communities sharing impact benefit agreements. An additional, $4.9 million was provided in 2011 in donations as social investments promoting health, education, sports and culture in its host communities.
The De Beers Canada workforce is diverse and dynamic. The company provides a wide range of opportunities with apprenticeships, engineer in training and metallurgist in training programs as well as preparation for supervisory and management positions. Training is carried out on a year round basis at the Victor Mine site as well as at the De Beers Canada Training Facility in Attawapiskat.
The gem-quality diamonds produced at Victor do add a valuable mix to Ontario’s mineral industry output. The mine itself provides a boost to the provincial economy and enhances the quality of life in Ontario society. There are approximately eight years remaining on the forecast life of mine for Victor. In efforts to keep things going and extend this time frame, advanced exploration is currently underway at Victor on 15 previously identified diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes. Success in this area would benefit us all.