Gahcho Kue Diamond Mine Project
The Gahcho Kué Diamond Project is located on the Canadian tundra in the Northwest Territories. It is situated at Kennady Lake ( ), in the Akaitcho Treaty 8 Territory AK claim block, which is 85 km (53 mi) southeast of the Snap Lake Diamond Mine Project and approximately 280 km (170 mi) east northeast of Yellowknife. The site is served by an ice runway, Gahcho Kue Aerodrome, and a spur of the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road from Lupin Mine. the main camp is at Coordinates: , north of the ice strip, with a smaller site at , south of the runway.
In 1993, Canamera Geological began sampling and surveying the area for Mountain Province Mining Joint Venture (now Mountain Province Diamonds). Exploration began in the area with a camp being set up in 1995. In 1997, Monopros, now De Beers Canada, took over the camp when they joined the Mountain Province Mining Joint Venture. In 1998 De Beers began sampling the kimberlite to evaluate the four Gahcho Kué pipes. More drilling followed and the positive results led to the decision to proceed.
A project study was started in 2004. An evaluation program in 2006 was followed by a drilling and sampling program in 2007. In September 2009 a feasibility study on a proposed mine was begun (by JDS Energy & Mining Inc), which was completed in September 2010. De Beers and its partners approved it in June 2011 and are preparing a plan and budget for a final decision on whether to go ahead with the mine project. If it proceeds to an operating mine, is expected to annually mine 3,000,000 tonnes (3,000,000 long tons; 3,300,000 short tons) of kimberlite, and to produce 4,500,000 carats (900 kg) per year over an 11 year life.
In 2005, the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board (MVEIRB), after an initial environmental assessment, ruled that De Beers applications for a land use permit and water license would require a full Environment Impact Review. De Beers appealed this decision to the NWT Supreme Court, but was denied in April 2007, and the review process began in 2007. Due to economic factors, De Beers delayed filing the required Environment Impact Statement (EIS) to the review board and the review process was suspended in May 2010. De Beers gave notice in November and filed the EIS on December 23, 2010, and after some subsequent revisions to address a few deficiencies, the MVEIRB accepted it on July 26, 2011. Staff sessions began in November, and the panel's decision is expected by July 2013. Should it proceed after that, mine construction would take two years at a cost of around C$650–750 million.
Gahcho Kué is the traditional Chipewyan, a Dene people, name for the Kennady Lake area and in Dene Suline means "Place of the Big Rabbit". The area, also known for Barren-ground Caribou, has been traditionally used by Dene from Lutselk'e and the Métis of Fort Resolution. In earlier times Tli Cho (Dogrib), also Dene, people used the area as well