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Victor mine extracts its final diamonds

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It’s the end of an era in Northern Ontario mining.

The DeBeers Victor diamond mine near the remote community of Attawapiskat has dug out and processed its last ore.  It was the first diamond mine in Canada.

“It’s certainly a very emotional week for a lot of people,” says Tom Ormsby, DeBeers Canada’s head of external and corporate affairs. He held a similar position specific to the mine, when construction started in 2006.

“Great memories.  I mean building that mine brought me to Timmins. I lived in Timmins for three years as we were building the mine and getting it into operation,” he relates.  “So overall, it’s a wonderful, positive impact on my life.”

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It was tough to staff Victor, because it was right in the middle of a high cycle for mining. So many of its first hires had no industry experience.

“We also reached into pulp and paper across Northern Ontario,” says Ormsby. “So it was not your classic mine workforce that you would have brought together, but boy, the team came together and exceeded all the feasibility forecasts that the mine had.”

In ten years and ten months, the mine produced more than eight-million carats of diamonds.  The initial forecast was only for six-million.

Alistair Skinner, general manager of the De Beers Canada Victor Mine, with the President’s Award at the 2019 Nova Awards. With him is Timmins Chamber of Commerce president Nancy Mageau. (Bob McIntyre, MyTimminsNow.com staff)
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