YELLOWKNIFE — The De Beers Group is shutting down its Snap Lake diamond mine in Canada's Far North due to current market conditions, resulting in the loss of more than 400 jobs.
The group's Canadian subsidiary will require 120 employees to prepare the underground mine for a lengthy suspension, and the workforce will be reduced further to 70 employees to do environmental monitoring and other work while the mine is idled.
De Beers says 41 of Snap Lake's employees have been transferred to the Gahcho Kué project as of Friday and another 60 may be moved sometime in 2016.
However, De Beers said 434 employees have been notified that they aren't required for the closure and maintenance work.
The company says it will evaluate market conditions over the next year to determine if the Snap Lake operation is financially viable.
"The men and women at Snap Lake have put enormous effort into this challenging ore body over many years, but even the gains made this year are not enough to overcome the market conditions and put us in a profitable position. To see such a strong commitment to the mine makes today's announcement that much more difficult," Kim Truter, CEO of De Beers Canada, said in a statement issued from Toronto.
The Snap mine is 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.