General – Underwater Mining
Arctic Canadian Diamond Company and IHC Mining have reached an important milestone in the development of an underwater remote mining (URM) system for the extraction of diamondbearing kimberlite ore from deep open pits at the Ekati Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada.
The URM system consists of a floating platform, an underwater mining crawler and a land based dewatering plant.
Arctic has now awarded IHC Mining with a contract to build and deliver a Launch and Recovery Platform for the URM system.
This contract is the first major equipment scope being awarded by Arctic for the URM system, following years of development work.
Arctic and IHC Mining started their cooperation in 2018, to jointly develop an innovative and integrated mining solution. The starting point for the development of the underwater remote mining system was to economically extract kimberlite from marginal kimberlite pipes and from deep extents of completed open pits.
An important focus was to develop a mining solution that would have a much lower environmental impact than conventional mining methods. As the URM crawler is only mining the kimberlite ore and minimal waste, it significantly reduces the mine’s footprint. The URM solution could allow the Ekati Diamond Mine to extend its lifetime by at least 10 years.