Successful Winter Road Season for Attawapiskat and De Beers

De Beers Victor Mine Convoy on Winter Road
The winter ice road allows needed materials into Attawapiskat and the De Beers Victor Mine.

Modular Home headed to Attawapiskat photo by Emma A. WilliamsTHUNDER BAY – The winter road trucking season is over. Over the course of the season, there were many success stories. The modular homes headed to Attawapiskat made their way into the community. So too did many tonnes of supplies. De Beers Canada is reporting success as well.

De Beers Canada Reports Success

De Beers Canada shares, “The 2012 winter road campaign for the De Beers Canada Victor Mine has been successfully completed with the team meeting all targets while providing support to two important community initiatives in Attawapiskat First Nation.

“The seasonal ice road is comprised of two sections, the 280km portion from Moosonee to Attawapiskat owned and operated by the local First Nation communities as well as the 90km portion that runs from Attawapiskat to the Victor Mine. De Beers Canada contributes substantial funding for the construction and operation of the community-owned section of the road, while providing 100% of the funding required to construct and maintain the additional section from Attawapiskat to the Victor Mine. The section from Attawapiskat to the mine was constructed and maintained under contract to De Beers Canada by MKS Equipment, an Attawapiskat local business”.

“The 2011-12 Winter Road program was one of our best ever”, said Victor Mine Logistics General Supervisor Mike Lacouciere. “The coordination of this important resupply effort requires cooperation across all departments at the mine as well as from our community partners. The commitment to seeing a safe program executed while adapting to the needs of the community this year was outstanding and everyone can be proud of their contributions to this year’s success”.

With the Victor Mine in a remote location, resupplying the mine with fuel, parts, equipment and other critical items requires year round planning and flawless execution once the road is ready to accept heavy traffic. An early frost in December created a favorable start to construction and the overall success of this year’s road, which saw many highlights including:

  • Construction employed 100% local community contractors with over 200 employees to build and maintain the 370km of road starting work in early December 2011;
  • The Victor Mine logistics team delivered more than 500 loads of freight and fuel over a period of 32 consecutive days;
  • The program was completed with no major incidents or accidents throughout the program.

In addition, De Beers Canada was asked just before the road opened to provide assistance for the Attawapiskat emergency housing initiative. The Victor Mine logistics team helped facilitate and support load deliveries to Attawapiskat First Nation to ensure houses and other required supplies would reach the community as quickly and effectively as possible.

As a result of the construction needs for the new homes in Attawapiskat, gravel in the community designated for the soon to be constructed elementary school was diverted to the foundations of the inbound homes. De Beers Canada was asked for assistance regarding replacement gravel for the school foundation that would be needed quickly before the winter road closed.

With support from management and colleagues, the mining and technical services team at the Victor Mine identified 1,100 tonnes of rock inside the actual pit at the mine site that met the requirements for the school.

Working around the clock for four days, the rock was crushed at the mine site by De Beers Canada employees and then made available to community gravel trucks using the road between the Attawapiskat and the mine. Where the Victor Mine is an active site and regular work was still on-going, additional resources were assigned to escort the community trucks safely through the mine site as they arrived and departed over a ten day period.

The gravel was donated at no cost to the community.

Modular Home headed to Attawapiskat photo by Emma A. Williams ©all rights reserved