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November 07 Businessexcellence De Beers Canada 133 Lehigh Inland Cement Limited is a leading supplier of cement in western Canada. An integral part of infrastructure in all modern societies, cement is crucial in the construction of homes, schools, buildings and mining operations. Lehigh Inland’s plant in Edmonton has been providing Portland cement since 1956, and today our reputation of quality products and excellent service is well known. Lehigh Inland Cement world, the company has not had an operational diamond mine in Canada, until now. De Beers has been active in Canada since the early 1960s and is currently working on five exploration projects ranging from early to advanced exploration. Exploration activities are directed from the Exploration Division office in Toronto, which also houses De Beers’ Canadian mineralogical lab. Toronto is also the regional office for exploration throughout Canada and Greenland. De Beers has injected a substantial investment into Canada in recent years, devoting over $15 million for exploration. Exploration programs are now underway in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, employing around 50 employees. Activities to date, in some cases carried out with joint venture partners, have led to the discovery of more than 230 kimberlites in 12 different areas of Canada—about half being diamondiferous. The current focus of De Beers Canada’s Mining Division is on phase two pre-production development at Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories, and on construction at the Victor Project in Northern Ontario. The Snap Lake Project, approximately 220 kilometers (roughly 140 miles) northeast of Yellowknife, just south of the tree line, received its final regulatory approvals for the construction of a mine on May 31, 2004. Due to open later this year, its construction has been a three year project, which is typical for the industry, says Jim Gowans, president and CEO of De Beers Canada, but it’s been a much longer process than that to bring the project to fruition from the initial exploration. When De Beers first started exploration in Canada in the 1960s they were doing little more than low budget preliminary exploration, explains Gowans; “just summer - time sampling programs.” Most of its half billion dollar exploration budget has been spent from 1985 onwards. “You can have fairly inexpensive exploration until you start to drill and have to take the bulk samples. Diamond mines are unique in that in order to go into a feasibility study, you have to get a large bulk sample to establish the value of the diamonds in the rock—not just the grade. In the gold business or the base metal business that I used to be in, you count ounces per ton or the percentage of lead, zinc or copper in an ore body. Once you know that you can basically understand the revenue side of a ton of ore. “You can’t do that with diamonds,” he says. “With diamonds, carats per ton are the key, but the carat could be worth $10 or $450, so it makes a big difference to the economics. That’s where most of the money was spent in the latter ’80s and ’90s when we started doing the bulk samples for Victor and Snap Lake and Gahcho Kué.” Bulk sampling involves taking huge samples, he says, crushing it all down, dissolving the rock to release the diamonds, which then have to be cleaned and evaluated to define their worth in terms of dollars per carat. “In our experience in Canada it takes over $100 million to come to the point of decision making for a diamond mine,” says Gowans. “That’s more than for base metal or gold companies. That’s what makes it exciting, but it also adds complexity. You are looking at fairly low grades. In the base metal industry we always talked about percent metal. It could be anywhere from a half a percent to 20 percent; in the gold business you’re talking grams per ton, or ounces. If you took a metric tonne of 1000 kilos, you’re talking three to ten grams per 1000 kilos.” With diamonds, he says, the proportions are miniscule in comparison. The Victor mine, for example, is a low grade mine with around 23 to 25 carats per 100 tons of ore. With one “You can have fairly inexpensive exploration until you start to drill and have to take the bulk samples” Sandvik brings global resources to mining and construction companies in North America and offers a full assortment of products and services for mining, exploration, construction, and aggregate industries including crushers, drills, consumables, cutting, loading and hauling, and conveying systems. Sandvik offers an array of other services and offerings including aftermarket parts, service support and finance programs. Let Sandvik be your solution partner, to increase your performance and profitability. Sandvik