De Beers Victor Mine marks a decade of historic achievement

by Keith Powell
The pit at the De Beers Victor Mine.

The pit at the De Beers Victor Mine. — Photo courtesy Terry Kruger

De Beers Victor Mine, Ontario’s first and only diamond mine, marked the 10th anniversary of safe and successful production yesterday with employees and a number of invited special guests who took part in site tours and celebrations with the workforce.

Named ‘International Mine of the Year’ by Mining Magazine in 2009, the Victor Mine was Canada’s first commercial diamond discovery back in 1987 with the discovery of the Victor cluster, nearly five years before the diamond discoveries in the Northwest Territories.

Located in the James Bay Lowlands of northern Ontario, the remote fly-in/fly-out mine officially opened on July 26, 2008.

“Victor Mine is an amazing success story, thanks in large part to the contributions from employees and our community business partners,” said Mr. Kim Truter, CEO of De Beers Canada. “The mine opened ahead of schedule, under budget, survived two global recessions, has already exceeded the feasibility study forecast and is on track for its best year ever in 2018. What makes the Victor Mine performance so spectacular is the extraordinary award winning safety culture, which has been embraced by everyone who works at Victor and has become a model for our company.”

Tour of the process plant at the De Beers Victor Mine.

Tour of the process plant at the De Beers Victor Mine. — Photo courtesy Terry Kruger

Since 2005, De Beers has spent $2.7 billion to build and operate the Victor Mine, of which nearly $900 million has been spent with Indigenous companies. During the past decade, historic achievements have included:

  • Two prestigious John T. Ryan National Awards for safety in 2015 and 2016 as the safest mine in Canada, followed by the Eastern Award in 2017
  • 7.2 million carats of diamonds recovered
  • 85 million tonnes of ore and rock mined
  • 10,700 loads of cargo and fuel up along the annual ice road resupply program
  • 200,000+ passengers flown in and out of the mine
  • Over $500 million in wages and benefits to employees since 2008
  • 33% of the mine’s workforce is Indigenous, mostly from James Bay communities
  • $8.9 million in social investments in local communities
  • $72.5 million in royalties
  • $50 million in Impact Benefit Agreement payments
  • Led De Beers Group globally by reducing 5,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions between 2015 and 2017
  • Invested $1 million in a regional caribou monitoring program

Alistair Skinner, the Victor Mine Operations Manager, was also involved in the feasibility work to develop the mine almost 20 years ago before joining the mine full time in 2009. Skinner says to see how far the mine has come is incredible. “Everyone who has contributed to the construction or past 10 years of operations at Victor Mine should be very proud,” said Skinner. “A large number of our employees have worked at Victor for the entire life of mine and have helped create a strong family atmosphere. Our employees have taken real ownership of the safety and success of the mine and of each other. They know they are at their best when they work together with a common vision of being the best place to work, the safest place to work and a mine that is committed to responsible and sustainable mining.”

Anniversary activities included a mine tour for invited guests to the Victor open pit, the processing plant, the on-site greenhouse and crop box that are growing local seeds into trees and plants for the progressive reclamation activities taking place now at the mine to prepare for full closure activities starting in 2019 when the Victor pit is depleted. Other activities included speeches and presentations, video tributes and a special dinner for employees.

About De Beers Group

De Beers Group is a member of the Anglo American plc group. Established in 1888, De Beers Group is the world’s leading diamond company with expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers Group employs more than 20,000 people across the diamond pipeline and is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. As part of the company’s operating philosophy, the people of De Beers Group are committed to ‘Building Forever’ by making a lasting contribution to the communities in which they live and work, and transforming natural resources into shared national wealth. For further information about De Beers Group, visit

De Beers has been operating in Canada since it carried out its first exploration programme in 1961. The De Beers Victor kimberlite cluster discovery in 1987 by De Beers Exploration was the first economic diamond discovery in Canada, four years before the discoveries in the Northwest Territories. De Beers currently operates the Victor Mine in northern Ontario and the Gahcho Kué Mine in the Northwest Territories.

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