De Beers announced the launch of its largest mine outside southern Africa, as Gahcho Kué opened Tuesday, 22 years after kimberlite was first discovered at the site in Canada.
The mine, a joint venture between De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds, is the world’s largest new diamond mine in the last 13 years and is expected to produce about 54 million carats over its lifetime. The deposit in Canada’s Northwest Territories is on track for full commercial operation in the first quarter of 2017.
“As millions of new consumers enter the middle classes in the coming years, consumer demand for diamond jewellery is set to see continued medium to long term growth,” said Bruce Cleaver, De Beerschief executive officer. The new mine “will help to meet this increasing demand,” he added.
Gahcho Kué will employ 530 people full-time, with the majority working a two-week in, two-week out rotation, De Beers said.