Our business will need to change
Going underground will affect every part of what we do at Diavik.
Our underground mining work is more complex than our open-pit mining.
To prepare for underground mining we have constructed several kilometres of tunnels. With the tunnels, rescue bays, washrooms, ventilation systems, repair shops, raises (vertical tunnels) for ventilation and water removal, pump stations, and storage areas have also been constructed.
On surface we have constructed a new paste backfill plant. We have also doubled our water treatment plant capacity, and added accommodations and a mine dry building which includes change rooms.
To support mining, we are heating and blowing fresh ventilation air underground. We require paste backfill -- made from crushed rock and cement and required to fill in mined out areas. This means we have doubled our electrical power capacity.
More fuel and cement will need to be purchased and stored at the mine site.
Another change is the fact that mining underground will require that we move significantly less waste rock than in open-pit mining.
Clearly, underground mining costs more. Combine this with lower annual diamond production and it means we must find new and different ways to work smart and efficiently. Doing so will mean continued success.
To underground mine the ore, which began in early 2010, Diavik has constructed several kilometres of tunnels.
With the underground workings, surface works, including one of the world's most complex paste plants (shown with the adjacent crusher building) has been built.
With the mine located under the waters of Lac de Gras, Diavik needs to pump out water which enters the mine through natural features in the rock. This main pump station is located about 300 metres below surface.
The mine's new power house expansion, has doubled electrical power generating capacity. Heat recovery units double the efficiency of the diesel gensets.
As part of the system to dewater the mine, workers weld piping.