The Ice Road
The Tibbitt to Contwoyto winter ice road is something to behold in the Barren Lands of the North. It is considered the lifeline to the Diavik Diamond Mine's operation in the remote Canadian wilderness, stretching approximately 600 kilometres. The Diavik Mine is located at kilometre 360 along the road. Approximately 80 per cent of the ice road consists of frozen lakes and ponds. There are over 60 portages.
The ice road is built by a joint venture of mining companies (Diavik Diamond Mines (2012) Inc., Dominion Diamond Corporation, and De Beers Canada Inc.) operating in the area, and shared by many users, from exploration companies to tourism outfitters and Aboriginal hunters of the region. This seasonal winter road is only open for eight to nine weeks each year, from February to the beginning of April (depending on weather and the season's load requirements), and it must be constructed each year to service mines in the area.
The road is capable of withstanding high levels of traffic; during the two years of mine construction, Diavik transported over 7,000 truckloads of fuel, construction material, cement, bentonite, explosives, and reinforcing steel to its mine site. In 2012, Diavik shipped 3,160 loads (89,000 tonnes) over the winter road. This included 60 loads of materials need to construct our wind farm.
Travel time on the ice road is generally around 14 hours, though it can be as high as 18 hours for heavy loads. Speed on the road is carefully controlled to protect the ice.
For further information on the ice road refer to the Joint Venture website.