Canada

Gahcho Kué Mine

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Overview

Mine TypeOpen Pit
Commodities
  • Diamond
Mining Method
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life2031
ShapshotGahcho Kué is an open pit operation, mining three kimberlite pipes in sequence: 5034, Hearne and Tuzo.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Anglo American plc. 43.4 % Indirect
Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. 49 % Indirect
De Beers Canada Inc. (operator) 51 % Indirect
Mountain Province Diamonds Inc, through its wholly owned subsidiaries 2435572 Ontario Inc. and 2435386 Ontario Inc., holds a 49% interest in the Gahcho Kué diamond mine, located in the Northwest Territories of Canada. De Beers Canada Inc. (“De Beers” or the “Operator”) holds the remaining 51%.

Anglo American owns 85% of De Beers.

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Kimberlite

Summary:

The main Gahcho Kué kimberlite cluster comprises four kimberlite bodies: Hearne, 5034, Tuzo, and Tesla. Hearne, most of the 5034 Pipe, and the Tuzo and Tesla occur under Kennady Lake, which has an average depth of 8 m. The Tesla kimberlite body is not part of the current declared resources or reserves.

Gahcho Kué kimberlites are overlain by varying thickness of glacial boulder outwash and lake sediments (averaging 10 m thick), and have a combined water and sediment cover as much as 25 m thick.

Drill information suggests that Tuzo and 5034 are located on an inclined feeder dyke system, the GK dyke, which dips roughly 25 degrees NNE. A vertical feeder dyke, as it is common for most maar-diatreme volcanoes, was not identified. Hearne is located on another feeder dyke system which dips to the North. The feeder dyke systems were repeatedly active during emplacement, resulting in a complex facies architecture of the kimberlite bodies rising from the feeder dykes.

The kimberlite bodies are steep-sided comprising of several texturally distinct phases of kimberlite in which the textures vary from hypabyssal kimberlite (HK) to diatreme facies tuffisitic kimberlite (TK). TK displays many diagnostic features including abundant unaltered country rock xenoliths, pelletal lapilli, serpentinized olivine and a matrix composed of microlitic phlogopite and serpentine without carbonate. HK contains common fresh olivine set in a groundmass composed of monticellite, phlogopite, perovskite, serpentine and carbonate. A number of texturally hybrid kimberlite rocks display a textural gradation from TK to HK, which is characterized by a decrease in the proportion of pelletal lapilli and country rock xenoliths and an increase in groundmass crystallinity, proportion of fresh olivine and the degree of xenolith digestion (Hetman et al., 2004).

Hearne Kimberlite
Scott Smith (2005) modelled two bodies to comprise the Hearne kimberlite, Hearne South and Hearne North. Further analysis and additional drilling in 2018 has shown that these bodies connect as lobes of a single kimberlite body (Fulop & Pell, 2019). The Hearne kimberlite has smooth, steep-sided walls, and covers an area of about 1.5 ha. At surface, Hearne measures a maximum of 380 m x 90 m from north to south with its largest width occurring at the south end in the former south pipe. Average widths are approximately 40 m at surface. The south lobe is dominantly TK, and the north lobe consists of approximately equal amounts of HK and TK. The present pipe geological model for the Hearne South extends to 125 masl. Additional drilling has proven that the body does not extend beyond this depth; Its limited depth is most likely controlled by a steep N-dipping feeder dyke system. The north lobe narrows to less than 10 m width in the centre of the body at approximately 130 m depth below lake-surface. There is also evidence that the north lobe extends below 100 masl.

5034 Kimberlite
The 5034 kimberlite is a highly irregularly-shaped pipe and dyke complex that is comparable to kimberlite root zones elsewhere and has a surface area of approximately 2.1 ha.

The main part of the 5034 occurrence that reaches the surface occurs under Kennady Lake and can be divided into four lobes: West, Southwest Corridor, Centre and East. These lobes are joined at the surface, but separate at depth. The Centre and East lobes are modelled separately at shallow depth, but rejoin at greater depth producing what appears to be a window of granite within the kimberlite. The East and North lobes are joined at depth, geologically continuous, and are collectively referred to as the Northeast Lobe, now including the Northeast Extension (Kurszlaukis et al., 2019). The surface measurements of the four lobes of the 5034 Main Pipe are approximately as follows:
• West Lobe – 125 m x 45 m;
• Centre Lobe – 125 m x 80 m;
• North-East Lobe – 85 m x 65 m; and
• Southwest Corridor – 330 m x 40 m.

Tuzo Kimberlite
The overall surface area of the Tuzo body is roughly 1.2 ha, which is covered by as much as 25 m of water of and glacial overburden. The kimberlite body comprises various fragmental and coherent kimberlites, and it contains abundant inclusions of the surrounding granitic country rock. The 2007 drill program results improved the definition of the shape of the kimberlite body, which is unusual as it widens towards depth from 125 m in diameter near the surface to roughly 225 m diameter at 300 m depth.

Wilson Kimberlite
In contrast to the Curie kimberlite, drilling at Wilson shows no connection to Tuzo, and as such Wilson is a distinct, new kimberlite discovery. Located roughly 200 meters east of Tuzo, the Wilson kimberlite lies within the open pit mine plan for the Tuzo pit. It is a roughly north-south trending, north-northeast plunging series of interconnecting sheets.

Mineralization
Hearne Kimberlite
Five different phases of TK were recognised within the Hearne kimberlite.

Hearne North Lobe
A major TK unit in Hearne North is the HNTKN that occupies the upper northern part of the main pipe. This TK contains <15% of granite xenoliths, but does contain autolith-like bodies and magmaclasts. The TK grades with depth into transitional textures resembling HK. The transition zone was termed HNTKNt. Below the transition zone is HK, some of which appears to be of the same phase of kimberlite as the overlying TK and TKt. The internal contact separating the TKN and TKNt is sub-parallel to the contact with the underlying HK. Both internal contacts dip at approximately 50° to the north. The HK immediately underlying the HNTKNt is thought to be part of the same phase and was termed HNHKN. This interpretation is supported by the similarity in macro-diamond grade between the textural varieties of kimberlite. These three textural units (HNTKN, HNTKNt, and HNHKN) represent the transition from the diatreme to the root zone within a single phase of kimberlite.

Hearne South Lobe
Based on geological interpretations from limited core drilling, this body appears to be composed mainly of uniform diatreme-facies TK, containing as much as 50% granite xenoliths. The TK unit was named HSTKM. A separate transitional HK/TK was proposed and named HSTKW. The macro-diamond grades in both of the above units are similar.

5034 Kimberlite
Kryvoshlyk (2008) reported that the diamond distribution in the 5034 North Lobe appears to follow the layered character of the kimberlite overall. Maximum concentrations of diamonds appear often located close to the “Orange Marker” — a specific petrological layer generally found between the two units comprising the majority of the pipe infill: the upper HKt and the lower HK units. Diamond count maxima in the East Lobe appear to create a lens-like body at a depth of 85 to 131 m towards its flanks and 107 to 211 m in its centre.

Tuzo Kimberlite
Tuzo country rock breccias with kimberlite (CRB + K) have the lowest average diamond counts, whereas the Upper TKB, Upper/Mixed TKB and Mixed TKB all have high diamond contents, with the Mixed TKB being the highest.

Wilson Kimberlite
On the basis of 273 - 8 kg micro-diamond samples, diamond counts are roughly double in the HK modeled unit relative to the TK unit.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

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Processing

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Production

CommodityUnits2024202320222021202020192018
Diamond k carats 00000000000000000000000000006,937
All production numbers are expressed as mineral. ^ Guidance / Forecast.

Operational metrics

Metrics202420232022202120202019
Total tonnes mined 0000000000000000000000000000
Tonnes processed 0000000000000000000000
Daily processing rate 00000000000000000000
Ore tonnes mined 00000000000000000000
Waste 0000000000000000000000000
Annual processing capacity 00
^ Guidance / Forecast.

Production Costs

CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018
Cash costs Diamond CAD 00 00 00 00 54 / carat   47 / carat  

Operating Costs

Currency2023202220212020201920182017
Total operating costs ($/t milled) CAD 129  122  110  103  103  101  73  

Financials

Units202420232022202120202019
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Heavy Mobile Equipment

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Personnel

Mine Management

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EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
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Aerial view:

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