Production Slowdown Announced at Snap Lake Mine

    YELLOWKNIFE, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Focused on running a sustainable business in
2009 and long term success for its new Canadian diamond operations, De Beers
Canada announced an organizational restructuring at its Snap Lake Mine in the
Northwest Territories today. This decision aligns staffing and production
levels to match the forecast demand for rough diamond sales impacted by the
global economic crisis.
    The Snap Lake mining operation has been downsized, directly impacts 128
De Beers Canada employees who received notice of job loss today. A small
number of contractors at the mine were also provided with notice that their
contracts would be indefinitely suspended or their scope of work significantly
reduced. This impacts another 90 contract employees with job loss. Some of the
positions filled by contractors are being absorbed by De Beers' employees in
the newly restructured organization.
    "This is a very difficult but necessary business decision as we respond
to the changing client demand for diamonds in the short term", said De Beers
Canada President and CEO, Jim Gowans. "Our mines have accomplished a
tremendous amount in their first year of operation and we must continue to
overcome the economic challenges of today to position ourselves for a strong
and long-term future in Canada".
    In the last quarter of 2008, De Beers Canada undertook a number of
initiatives to ensure the company continued production in the face of the
difficult economic climate affecting all industries. These measures included
reducing production at both Canadian mines, reducing or deferring capital
expenditure and announcing temporary shut downs in both mines for 2009.
    "The decisions we made in 2008 were designed to keep costs in line and to
minimize the impact on our operations, partners and our valued employees, but
they are no longer enough to keep ahead of the current condition of the
market," said Mr. Chantal Lavoie, Senior Vice President of Operations of De
Beers Canada. "The Snap Lake Mine still has tremendous potential and we look
forward to seeing our development and production meet and exceed our
expectations in the long term."
    The global economic crisis presents challenges for the luxury goods
category as a whole, but diamonds are uniquely positioned to withstand and
emerge from the short-term uncertainty. The medium to long term fundamentals
for the diamond industry are strong and the company has positioned itself for
success in the long term.

For further information:

For further information: Cathie Bolstad, Manager Public & Corporate
Affairs, NWT Projects, De Beers Canada Inc., Tel: (867) 766-7325; Derek
Teevan, Director Corporate & Government Relations, De Beers Canada Inc., Tel:
(416) 646-1710 X2151

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