Production at giant Arctic diamond mine just weeks away

Gahcho Kué, the largest new diamond mine under development globally, is now 94% complete with first production planned for the second half of this year, one of the companies behind the project said Monday.

Gahcho Kué, the world's largest new diamond mine under development, is now 94% complete with first production planned for the second half of this year.

According to Mountain Province Diamonds (TSX:MPV), which holds a 49% stake in the mine, both the processing plant and truck shop have been finished and the firm is on schedule to achieve mechanical completion of the primary crusher during the current quarter.

"The project also continues to meet our lending group's tests-to-completion with US$47M advanced to fund cash calls during Q2 2016," Mountain Province President and CEO, Patrick Evans, said in a statement. "A total of US$266M has been drawn against the US$370M facility," he added.

Situated almost 300 kilometres east of Yellowknife, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, and southeast of the now closed Snap Lake diamond mine, Gahcho Kué is employing about 700 people during construction, majority owner De Beers told MINING.com.

At least 400 workers will be employed during the mine’s 12-year operational life, in which it’s expected to produce an average of 4.5 million carats a year, making it the world’s biggest new diamond mine.

Additionally, as Canada's major diamond mines — Diavik and Ekati — are approaching the end of their productive lives, Gahcho Kué—although it's smaller— is expected to offset the production drop-off.