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Making an old diamond mine shine again


The De Beers group opened a $2 billion diamond mine in Ontario's far north in 2008 and wrapped up production in 2019.

But the company is still working hard on the rehabilitation part of the Victor Mine closure process.

Once employing as many as 500 people to take rocks out of the ground, today around 90 are working to put the land back together.

“We want to put it as close to the natural state that it was,” said Erik Madsen, head of corporate affairs for De Beers Canada.

The company told the Timmins business community that the central facility is demolished, hundreds of hectares of land seeded and the open pit has been turned into a lake.

Madsen said De Beers worked with area First Nations to reclaim the land and will ensure it's returned as close to its original state as possible.

"We're going to be around until 2039, so there's going to be requirements to go back, do some water quality monitoring, do some wildlife monitoring, checking on vegetation, all that,” he said.

“So we will work with them to develop a monitoring program, so that they will be involved for those years to come."

The company reflected on the mine's economic benefit to the region. Businesses sprouted and expanded to meet the demands of diamond mining.

It also supported First Nation-owned businesses like Attawapiskat Enterprises, which was its exclusive catering and security provider.

"It gave us an excellent opportunity to have job opportunities,” said Melissa Regan of Attawapiskat Enterprises.

“We trained, educated a lot of First Nation members to be able to offer them employment at the Victor Mine."

Timmins Mayor Michelle Boileau said the mine is still having an impact.

"The legacy of the Victor Mine and everything that it brought to the regional economy will continue on, over the next few years,” Boileau said.

“It really helped shape some of the businesses now that are servicing other mining operations in the region."

The province's first and only diamond mine is expected to be fully closed ahead of schedule this fall, although De Beers may not be done with diamond mining in the region.

Madsen said the company still holds rights to other deposits in the far north, but that it would need facilities with a smaller environmental and financial footprint. Top Stories

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