Owners of Nunavut, Canada’s first diamond mine deserted site

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, poses with then-Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, left, and Tahera Diamond CEO Peter Gillin, in front of the mining pit before the official opening of the Jericho Diamond Mine project on Thursday, August 17, 2006, in Nunavut. Shear Diamonds bought the mine in 2010 after Tahera went bankrupt.) (CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)Shear Diamonds’ website gone and phones disconnected

The owners of the first and only diamond mine in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut are nowhere to be found.

Shear Diamonds bought the Jericho mine site in 2010 after the previous owners went bankrupt. The company hoped to re-open the mine, but ended up putting the site under what it called “temporary closure”.

It happened quickly last summer, on Labour Day weekend, when Shear realized it was in financial trouble.

Within 48 hours, Shear had done some basic clean-up at the Jericho site, and all its staff members were flown out.

Regulators found out about it a few days later.

A federal inspection of the site then found some things left undone. Hazardous waste wasn’t stored properly and there was evidence of fuel spills not cleaned up.

Shear promised more cleanup, but it’s not clear how much has been done.

“Realistically, we know that through the monitoring that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is doing under the terms of the water licence, there are significant compliance issues that they’re in the process of following up with as well,” said Ryan Barry, the executive director of the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Barry said they will do their best to get a response from Shear, and find out how the company intends to comply with rules and regulations set by the board.

The board gave Shear a deadline of tomorrow to submit a series of outstanding reports.

However, Ryan Barry said the board has had trouble reaching anybody from the company in recent weeks.

Calls and emails from CBC News have also gone unanswered, the company’s website is gone, and now it’s not even possible to leave the company a message on the phone.

The Jericho Mine, which is located 350 kilometres southwest of the community of Cambridge Bay, is Canada’s third and Nunavut’s first diamond mine.

Related Link:

Production suspended at Nunavut’s diamond mine, CBC News

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