What happens after the diamond mines close?

Ekati diamond mine1
Aerial view of the Ekati mine. Photo courtesy of BHP Billiton
When you look at aerial photographs of the Ekati and Diavik diamond mines in the Northwest Territories, the first thing you notice are these enormous circular craters. They look as if they were bored into the tundra by a giant corkscrew. These are open pit mines.

Giant earth moving machines dig up and move the diamond bearing kimberlite ore to a nearby processing plant where the ore gets crushed and its precious content, rough diamonds of various shapes and sizes, is separated, sorted and then sent for further sorting and processing.

Diavik diamond mine
Aerial view of the Diavik mine. Photo courtesy of Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.)

But what happens with these sites when the mining operations end? Will the tundra and the surrounding lakes remain permanently scarred by these giant footprints of industrial mining?

To find out more Radio Canada International producer Levon Sevunts sat down for an interview with Colleen English, superintendant for Sustainable Development, Communities and External Relations at Diavik Diamond Mines Inc.

Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International

Born and raised in Armenia, Levon started his journalistic career in 1990, covering wars and civil strife in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In 1992, after the government in Armenia shut down the TV program he was working for, Levon immigrated to Canada. He learned English and eventually went back to journalism, working first in print and then in broadcasting. Levon’s journalistic assignments have taken him from the High Arctic to Sahara and the killing fields of Darfur, from the streets of Montreal to the snow-capped mountaintops of Hindu Kush in Afghanistan. He says, “But best of all, I’ve been privileged to tell the stories of hundreds of people who’ve generously opened up their homes, refugee tents and their hearts to me.”

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