Federal government approves Gahcho Kue

Canada's Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada has approved De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds' Gahcho Kue diamond project in the Northwest Territories.

Government approval comes after the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB) – an aboriginal review group – gave its blessing earlier this year.

"The Minister's approval confirms that the plans for the development and operation of the Gahcho Kué diamond mine meet the highest standards. The new diamond mine will benefit the economy and residents of the Northwest Territories and enhance Canada's position as a premier diamond producer," CEO for De Beers Canada noted in a press release on Tuesday. 

In a decision released in July, MVEIRB noted that the "project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts" and recommended its approval subject to follow-up programs.

Meanwhile, three separate aboriginal groups have been opposing the project, announcing in August that they would ask the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to review the project further.

The companies also noted on Tuesday that "given the expected timing for the issuance of a land use permit to enable pioneer work to commence" and "the impact of the winter ice road on logistics," the joint venture will reassess the development plan to determine the "optimal" schedule.

Gahcho Kue is expected to employ nearly 700 people during the construction phase and 400 people during operations. During its 11-year mine life, the project is forecast to produce an average of 4.5 million carats per year.

Mountain Province Diamonds gained 2.45% following the news release.