De Beers officially opens two mines in Canada



    TORONTO, July 24 /CNW/ - De Beers will officially open its first two
mines in Canada this week by James K. Gowans, President of De Beers Canada,
and Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman of De Beers Group.
    On July 25, the Snap Lake Mine, located approximately 220 km northeast of
Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, will be the first De Beers mine
outside of southern Africa. The next day on July 26, the Victor Mine, located
in northeastern Ontario, will officially launch and will be the first diamond
mine in Ontario.
    "Everyone has worked very hard to bring the Snap Lake and Victor Mines
into production," says Jim Gowans, President of De Beers Canada. "It has taken
us several years and over $1 billion to build each mine, and along the way, we
have built strong relationships with local communities and upheld the highest
environmental standards. I'm very proud of what we have accomplished."
    From exploration through production, the diamond industry is bringing
employment and economic growth, training and education, and business
opportunities for remote Aboriginal communities in Canada. Between Snap Lake
and Victor Mines, over $650 million dollars has been spent with aboriginal
business. "De Beers contributes to sustainable communities and economies
wherever we operate and we are proud of the relationships we have developed,"
says Jim. "We believe that meaningful consultation is required to develop
mutual trust and long-term cooperative relationships with Aboriginal
communities."
    De Beers has signed a four Impact Benefit Agreements (IBA) for the Snap
Lake Mine including the Yellowknife Dene First Nation (November 2005), the
Tlicho Government (March 2006), the North Slave Metis Alliance (August 2006)
and Lutsel K'e and Kache Dene First Nation (April 2007). The Victor Mine has
signed three community agreements for the Victor Mine including an IBA with
the Attawapiskat First Nation (November 2005), a Working Relationship
Agreement with the Taykwa Tagamou Nation (May 2005), and an IBA with Moose
Cree First Nation (September 2008).
    De Beers is also committed to supporting the secondary diamond industry
in Canada. As such, agreements have been reached with the Governments of the
Northwest Territories and Ontario for De Beers to make available for sale ten
percent (10%) of diamonds from the Snap Lake Mine and Victor Mines, by value,
to provincially approved manufacturers who have successfully fulfilled the
Diamond Trading Company's client selection criteria.

    
    Background notes to editors:

    Snap Lake Mine:

      -  The Snap Lake Mine located in the NWT is Canada's first fully
         underground diamond mine and De Beers first mine outside of southern
         Africa.
      -  The Snap Lake Mine will employee 560 people during production and
         will have an annual production rate of 1.4 million carats.
      -  The mine life is expected to be close to 20 years.
      -  The Snap Lake ore body is a 2.5 metre thick dyke that dips an
         average of 12-15 degrees from the northwest shore down under the
         lake. It is unlike most diamond-bearing kimberlite deposits, which
         are shaped like pipes or carrots.
      -  Snap Lake is the only diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories
         (NWT) that has certified its environmental management systems to ISO
         14001 standards before operations had started.

    Victor Mine:

      -  The Victor Mine, located near Attawapiskat First Nation in northern
         Ontario, will be Ontario's first diamond mine.
      -  The Victor Mine will employee 400 people during production and will
         have an annual production rate of 600,000 carats.
      -  Victor is one of 18 kimberlite pipes discovered on the property, 16
         of which are diamondiferous. The Victor kimberlite has a surface
         area of 15 hectares and consists of two pipes that coalesce at the
         surface: Victor Main and Victor Southwest.
      -  The mine will be open-pit with an expected life of 12 years and a
         total project life of 17 years.

    De Beers Group:

      -  De Beers has three shareholders: Anglo American (45%), Central
         Holdings (40% - representing the Oppenheimer family) and the
         Government of the Republic of Botswana (15%).
      -  The De Beers Family of Companies is involved in most parts of the
         diamond value chain. This includes exploration on four continents,
         and mining in Canada, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania.
      -  At the end of 2007, De Beers employed about 20,000 people around the
         world.
      -  The De Beers Family of Companies produces about 40 percent of world
         production by value, and 45 per cent of rough diamond distribution.


    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/
    





For further information:

For further information: Derek Teevan, Manager, Government and Corporate
Affairs, De Beers Canada Inc., Tel: (416) 645-1710 ext 2151, Email:
derek.teevan@ca.debeersgroup.com


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