Infrastructure

InfrastructureThe Diavik Diamond Mine infrastructure covers all aspects of mining operation, accommodation and facilities for employees. On-site structures include worker accommodation, a processing plant, maintenance shops, a diesel power generating facility, fuel storage, jet airstrip, water and sewage treatment facilities, and a processed kimberlite containment structure.

Mine infrastructure

Three modules make up the Diavik process plant:

  • A small run-of-mine building, connected to the main dense medium separation (DMS) plant.
  • A smaller recovery building that removes the diamonds from the host kimberlite rock. 
  • A process plant, which is one of the largest buildings in the North, standing 35 metres high (11 stories), 40 metres wide, and 152 metres long.

Administration/Maintenance complex

The administration/maintenance complex includes offices for staff as well as warehouse space. This building is 25 metres high, 127 metres long, and 60 metres wide, and is complete with 10 bays and in-floor heating. The height of the building allows large haul trucks to raise their boxes for maintenance.

Fuel tanks

There are six 18 million-litre diesel fuel tanks at the Diavik site, which provide fuel for mobile equipment, for diesel power generators, and for heating.

Power houses

Power house 1 includes five Caterpillar 3616 diesel engines coupled to generators, each capable of producing 4.4 megawatts, and four Caterpillar 3512s, each capable of producing 1.25 megawatts. Power house 2 has four Caterpillar 3616s and two 3612s (3.3 megawatts each). Waste heat is recovered and is used to heat plant site buildings and water required in the process plant.

Boiler plant

The boiler plant houses three Cleaver Brooks firetube boilers, each rated at 7,000 kilowatts. The boilers are held in reserve, and when needed, supply additional heat. The boilers use a 60:40 glycol/water mix which is pumped through the system at a rate of 84 litres per second. The temperature of the glycol mix leaving the plant is 90 °C and it returns at 70 °C.

Accommodation

The permanent accommodation complex was built in several stages. The dormitory units were prefabricated in Alberta in a training program under a northern Aboriginal joint venture. A total of 156 modules were constructed and trucked to site, where they were placed into the four wings.

Each wing has three floors with a laundry facility on each floor. Rooms contain a single bed, a desk and chair, closet space, cable TV, telephone hook-up, and its own bathroom. Each room is single occupancy, and for workers on two week rotations, is shared with an employee on shift rotation. In June 2004, a 69-room expansion was completed, bringing accommodation capacity to 330.

The accommodation's core complex was built on site under a separate northern contract. It houses security offices, cafeteria, and recreational facilities including a gymnasium with running track, and a squash court.

Arctic corridors

Twenty prefabricated metal modules are connected to link the major buildings. These arctic corridors carry all utilities including drinking and heating water, a separate water sprinkler line, sewage, power, and communications. The corridors also provide heated, well-lit walkways for workers going to and from work at the plant site.

Airstrip

The 1,600 meter long airstrip is capable of accepting Boeing 737 jet service and Hercules transport aircraft. A host of smaller aircraft brings freight and workers to and from a number of northern communities.

Drinking water

Drinking water is pumped from Lac de Gras and is treated with chlorine.

Sewage treatment

Diavik constructed a state of the art sewage treatment facility to treat domestic sewage. This treatment plant utilizes advanced biological treatment as well as an alum and filtration system to remove phosphorus.

Electrical system

Power is carried throughout the plant site through the arctic corridors, and elsewhere on the site along lines supported by over 200 telephone poles. Power lines carry 13,800 kV.

Communications system

Voice and data communications on site is conducted with Internet Protocol (IP) technology and is connected by satellite to Yellowknife. The telephone system uses Voice over IP and is based on equipment that also supports the data network. Network connections between buildings are through fibre optical cabling, while wiring within each building uses Cat 5e copper cabling for computers and telephones.