March 20 First production at De Beers' Gahcho
Kue diamond mine in northern Canada could move to early 2017
because of shipping delays, the Anglo American Plc
unit's chief executive, Phillipe Mellier, said in an interview.
The mine had once been expected to start producing around
December 2015, but regulatory restrictions limited shipments to
Gahcho Kue this winter, delaying construction.
Having missed this year's short shipping season, De Beers is
hoping to get the approvals it needs to truck in more equipment
and material next winter.
"We hope things are going to move. We are confident they
will move in the right direction," said Mellier.
Mellier said he expects production to start at the end of
2016 or the beginning of 2017.
In recent years the ice road that brings heavy equipment and
supplies like cement and steel to northern Canada's diamond
mines has only operated for about two months a year. It's one of
many logistical challenges miners face in the harsh climate.
Gahcho Kue was approved by Canada's federal government in
October 2013, and won a key permit in December, but it is still
waiting on a water license.
De Beers' minority partner in the mine, Mountain Province
Diamonds Inc, said in January that if the shipping
problem could not be solved, first production might be delayed
to the third quarter of 2016.
(Reporting by Silvia Antonioli in London and Allison Martell in
Toronto; Editing by Bernard Orr)