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De Beers plans contract awarding for diamond mine.

De Beers Canada Corp. will let a number of contracts in preparation for the opening of Victor Mine slated for October 2008.

"We are in the process of compiling a list of contracts that will be let over the next three years, but they will range from trucking to fabrication of steel products, equipment supply, a variety of consumables and camp maintenance," Tony George, mine manager of the Victor Mine Project said.

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George was the keynote speaker at the NORCAT/Northern Ontario Business Opportunity Series Breakfast held Nov. 16 at Cambrian College. The series is a partnership between the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology Inc. (NORCAT) and Northern Ontario Business. The series is aimed at providing northern businesses with a forum through which they can learn from one another and connect and network with decision-makers in all sectors.

"The series provided a prime opportunity for businesses to learn more about De Beers and the Victor Diamond Project," Patricia Mills, publisher of Northern Ontario Business, said. "It was also an opportunity for suppliers and manufacturers to come together as partners in shared solutions, rather than viewing one another as potential competition."

The series focuses on the importance of technology, bringing industry leaders together with suppliers to benefit mutually, said Darryl Lake, executive director and CEO of NORCAT.

"These are decision-makers who educate us about their current and future projects," said Lake. "They enlighten us about their own needs, whether it be products and services, or staffing requirements."

Mining sector representatives attending the session gained insight into the current status of the Victor Diamond Project and possible opportunities that may result as the operation heads into the development stage.

Supplies will have to come from somewhere, and De Beers will give priority to service providers out of the James Bay communities, then to northeastern companies and beyond.

A range of skill sets will be required to bring the mine into operation. Currently, De Beers is assessing the level of skills and education in various communities close to the proposed mine site.

About 375 full-time workers will be needed once the mine is in operation. Combine that number with the 1,100 workers during the construction phase and it proves to be a significant economic impact to the area, he noted. Moreover, it will create an estimated 3,200 jobs in Ontario on the whole.

It will cost $880 million to get the project up and running. During operations, De Beers will be spending $100 million a year. An estimated 35 per cent of that will be spent on salary and wages, and approximately $15 million will be spent on fuel, with the remaining difference on supplies. De Beers will spend another $55 million in progressive reclamation once the mine is decommissioned, which is expected after 12 years.

To date, the company has spent an estimated $110 million on feasibility studies and exploration work, George said.

For northeastern Ontario, the cumulative impact on gross domestic product is estimated at $4.2 billion, with greater Ontario's impact closer to $7 billion.

The Victor Diamond Project will produce approximately 2.5 million tonness of ore a year, and mine 600,000 "high-quality" carats a year.

The next Business Opportunities Series Breakfast will be held Jan. 12, 2005.

Frank Dottori, president and CEO of Tembec Forest Products, will be the keynote speaker, and will be providing insight into the future supply and service needs of the forest industry.

For registration information, visit www.northernontariobusiness.com or www.norcat.org, or contact Marlene Moore at 705-671-8050 or e-mail to marlene@nob.on.ca.

By Kelly Louiseize

Northern Ontario Business
COPYRIGHT 2004 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:MINING REPORT; De Beers Canada Corp.
Author:Louiseize, Kelly
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Dec 1, 2004
Words:604
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