Advertisement

The Victor Diamond Mine, Northern Ontario, Canada: Successful Mining of a Reliable Resource

  • B. D. WoodEmail author
  • B. H. Scott Smith
  • B. Rameseder
Conference paper
  • 932 Downloads

Abstract

The Victor Diamond Mine opened in 2008. Different phases of evaluation were used from 1997 to 2003 to systematically build a resource. The Mineral Resource Model suggested an extremely variable and overall relatively low grade for Victor, but that the diamonds would be of superior value. The development of a robust geological model and understanding the emplacement processes were critical to the design and implementation of sampling programs and to the establishment of a reliable resource for mine planning. Victor comprises two kimberlite pipes; the larger pipe, Victor North, includes the highest predicted grades and is the focus of current open pit mining and this paper. The variability in grade reflects the complex geology of Victor North which comprises two cross-cutting volcanic craters. The later crater was infilled by the products of two separate eruptions; a central high grade pyroclastic kimberlite nested within previous unlithified low grade pyroclastic infill. Extensive mixing produced a wide, gradational, inhomogeneous internal contact zone with variable, but overall intermediate grades. Apart from macrodiamond bulk sampling, the contrasting grade zones can only be differentiated using micropetrography and groundmass mineral compositions which creates a practical mining issue in separating ore from kimberlite waste. Ore versus waste is identified during mining by routine bulk sampling of newly exposed kimberlite which is treated in a separate processing plant. The mining bulk sample data and mined mineral resource performance data show that the Victor North Mineral Resource is accurate, significantly contributing to the success and reliability of commissioning and operating the mine.

Keywords

Diamond Evaluation Mineral resource Kimberlite geology Victor Exploration Mining 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors are grateful to De Beers Canada Inc. and De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. for permission to publish this paper. Many current and former employees of De Beers Canada Inc. and other De Beers operations are acknowledged for their significant contributions to the team effort of developing and operating the Victor Mine and to the findings presented here. Stuart Smith is thanked for his assistance in preparation of the illustrations. Reviewers Jennifer Pell and Casey Hetman and our guest editor Herman Grütter are all thanked for thoughtful and constructive comments that significantly improved the manuscript.

References

  1. Field M, Scott Smith BH (1999) Contrasting geology and near-surface emplacement of kimberlite pipes in southern Africa and Canada. In: Dawson JB (ed) Volume, Proceedings of the 7th international kimberlite conference, Red Roof Design, Cape Town, South Africa, vol 1, pp 214–237Google Scholar
  2. Fowler JA, Grutter HS, Wood BD (2001) Diamond exploration in northern Ontario with reference to the Victor kimberlite, near Attawapiskat. Explor Min Geol 10:67–75Google Scholar
  3. Hoffman PF (1988) United plates of America, the birth of a craton: early Proterozoic assembly and growth of Laurentia. Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci 16:543–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Januszczak N, Seller MH, Kurszlaukis S, Murphy CM, Tappe S, Delgaty J, Ali K, Zhu J, Ellemers P (2012) A multidisciplinary approach to the Attawapiskat kimberlite field: accelerating the discovery to production pipeline. In: Long abstract for the 10th international kimberlite conference, Bangalore, India, 5 ppGoogle Scholar
  5. Januszczak N, Seller MH, Kurszlaukis S, Murphy CM, Tappe S, Delgaty J, Ali K, Zhu J, Ellemers P (2013) A multidisciplinary approach to the Attawapiskat kimberlite field: accelerating the discovery to production pipeline In: D. G. Pearson et al. (eds), Proceedings of 10th International Kimberlite Conference, Special Issue of the Journal of the Geological Society of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  6. Kong JM, Boucher DR, Scott Smith BH (1999) Exploration and geology of the Attawapiskat kimberlites, James Bay Lowland, northern Ontario, Canada. In: Gurney JJ, Gurney JL, Pascoe MD, Richardson SH (eds), Proceedings of the 7th international kimberlite conference.Red Roof Design, Cape Town, South Africa, vol 1, pp 452–467Google Scholar
  7. Lehnert-Thiel K, Loewer R, Orr RG, Robertshaw P (1992) Diamond-bearing kimberlites in Saskatchewan, Canada: the Fort à la Corne case history. Explor Min Geol 1:391–403Google Scholar
  8. Scott Smith BH (2008a) The Fort à la Corne kimberlites, Saskatchewan, Canada: geology, emplacement and economics. J Geol Soc India 91:11–55Google Scholar
  9. Scott Smith BH (2008b) Canadian kimberlites: geological characteristics relevant to emplacement. In: Proceedings of the 2006 kimberlite emplacement workshop, Saskatoon, Canada. J Volcanol Geoth Res 174:9–19Google Scholar
  10. Scott Smith BH, Orr RG, Robertshaw P, Avery RA (1994) Geology of the Fort à la Corne kimberlites, Saskatchewan. In: Proceedings of the CIM district 6 annual general meeting. Vancouver, Canada, pp 19–23Google Scholar
  11. Scott Smith BH, Nowicki TE, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Mitchell RH, Hetman CM, Harder M, Skinner EMW, Robey JV (2012) Kimberlite terminology and classification. In: Long abstract for the 10th international kimberlite conference, Bangalore, India 5 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Scott Smith BH, Nowicki TE, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Mitchell RH, Hetman CM, Harder M, Skinner EMW, Robey JV (2013) Kimberlite terminology and classification. In: D. G. Pearson et al. (eds), Proceedings of 10th International Kimberlite Conference, Special Issue of the Journal of the Geological Society of IndiaGoogle Scholar
  13. van Straaten BI, Kopylova MG, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Scott Smith BH (2008) Discrimination of diamond resource and non-resource domains in the Victor North pyroclastic kimberlite, Canada. In: Proceedings of the 2006 kimberlite emplacement workshop, Saskatoon, Canada. J Volcanol Geoth Res 174:128–138Google Scholar
  14. van Straaten BI (2010) The eruption of kimberlite: insights from the Victor North kimberlite pipes, northern Ontario, Canada. PhD thesis, University of British Columbia, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  15. van Straaten BI, Kopylova MG, Russell JK, Scott Smith BH (2011) A rare occurrence of a crater-filling clastogenic extrusive coherent kimberlite, Victor Northwest kimberlite, northern Ontario, Canada. Bull Volcanol 73:1047–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. van Straaten BI, Kopylova MG, Russell JK, Webb KJ, Scott Smith BH (2009) Stratigraphy of the intra-crater volcaniclastic deposits of the Victor Northwest kimberlite, northern Ontario, Canada. In: Proceedings of the 9th international kimberlite conference. Lithos 112(Supplement 1):488–500Google Scholar
  17. Webb KJ, Scott Smith BH, Paul JL, Hetman CM (2004) Geology of the Victor kimberlite, Attawapiskat, northern Ontario, Canada: cross-cutting and nested craters. In: Proceedings of the 8th international Kimberlite conference. Lithos 76:29–50Google Scholar
  18. Webb KJ, Scott Smith BH, Paul JL, Hetman CM (2006) Geology of the Victor kimberlite, Attawapiskat, northern Ontario, Canada: Cross-cutting and nested craters. Poster for 2006 kimberlite emplacement workshop, Saskatoon, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  19. Wood BD (2000) Advanced diamond exploration programme of the Victor kimberlite, Attawapiskat, James Bay Lowlands. Abstract and talk for Toronto geological discussion group “Diamonds in Eastern Canada”, pp 23–26Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Geological Society of India 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victor Mine, De Beers Canada IncTimminsCanada
  2. 2.Scott-Smith Petrology IncNorth VancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations