Saskatchewan diamond mine enters public input stage

September 4, 2013


The Journal of Commerce reports that Shore Gold Inc. is entering the public input phase of a joint environmental assessment by the federal and provincial governments for a proposed diamond mine in Saskatchewan.

“Subsequent to this period of public comment, the Agency will prepare the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR), with input from the public, federal departments and Aboriginal groups,” said George Read, Shore Gold senior vice president of exploration and development. “The CSR will outline the agency’s conclusions regarding the potential environmental effects of the project, the proposed mitigation measures and the significance of the remaining adverse environmental effects.”

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is conducting a comprehensive environmental assessment of the proposed Star-Orion South Diamond Project located in the Fort à la Corne Provincial Forest about, 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert.

The CEAA, which is the lead agency for the assessment, is inviting the public to comment on the proponent’s revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It examines the potential environmental effects of the project and the proposed measures to prevent or mitigate those effects.

Shore Gold proposes to construct, operate and decommission a diamond mining and processing facility over a projected 20-year period.

Construction of the project will take four years.

It will be followed by the excavation of two open-pit mines: the Star Kimberlite deposit and the Orion South Kimberlite deposit.

The excavation in each pit involves the removal of overburden material to access the kimberlite ore, which is the primary source for diamonds.

In addition, the project involves the construction of a process plant facility to extract the diamonds from the ore and supporting infrastructure.

An access corridor encompassing a roadway, communication lines, and a natural gas pipeline is proposed.

Construction of the access corridor will begin as soon as the required permits are in place.
Construction will start with site clearing and timber removal.

The processing plant, the administrative building, maintenance shop and technical offices, warehouse, security buildings, lube storage, truck wash and emergency response building, and the helipads will be located within the plant site.

Construction of the plant will commence with site clearing and levelling, utilizing till from pit stripping operations for engineered fill under the plant foundations.

The plant building will be a structural steel frame building on concrete grade beams and slabs supported by concrete piles bearing on the harder tills below sand and clay.

Conveyors and equipment for grinding, classification, separation, recovery and reject disposal will be assembled and installed.

Buried water, gas, and septic lines will be installed prior to erection of the plant building and tied in upon completion of the connecting components in the plant.

The entire shell will be constructed prior to assembly of the equipment.

The total footprint of the plant site and associated buildings will be about 37 ha.

There is no projected timeline for work to start on the construction of the mine, because this depends on the assessment process and finding an investor.

The facility will process about 45,000 tonnes of kimberlite rock per day.

The feasibility study for the project indicates there are 34-million carats of diamonds in reserve at a weighted average price of $242 a carat, before the cost of extracting it.

The CEAA will make the comprehensive study report available for public comment upon completion.
Then the Minister of Environment will issue a statement that decides whether the project is likely to cause significant environmental effects, and if those effects are justified, accounting for the mitigation measures.

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