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29 Aug 2022
De Beers Group is putting the principles of the circular economy into action at the Snap Lake Mine closure project in northern Canada.
So far this year alone, hundreds of tonnes of equipment that would otherwise have been scrapped and placed into a landfill have been diverted for resale and reuse. This is being done in partnership with the site closure contractor, MET/Nuna, and Lenmark Industries, a Langley, British Columbia company that specializes in reselling used industrial equipment.
Recovering used equipment is especially challenging at Snap Lake, which is about 400 km by winter road from Yellowknife and 1,800 km from Edmonton.
The Lenmark team lead by Jasyn Hiller, has been active at the site since February, first to remove the six diesel generators and associated powerhouse equipment (pictured here) and later to remove equipment from the process plant, ranging from pumps to electrical distribution equipment, the crushers, vibrating screen decks, conveyor drives and other items.
The powerhouse equipment was removed from the mine on this year’s winter road and the other items are being preserved and staged to be flown off or transported from site on the 2023 winter road.
“People want to see industry work in a responsible way – and if there’s something of value, throwing it into a landfill is not the right thing to do,” said Mark Buhler, President of Lenmark. He and partner Leonard Buhler formed the company six years ago and it has quickly grown into an industry leader in Canada, doing business around the world.
This is not the first time surplus equipment from Snap Lake has been diverted from being scrapped. The mine entered extended care and maintenance in 2015, and when the decision was made to close the mine in 2017, about $30 million worth of mobile equipment, tools and other material was auctioned off.
In addition, in February of this year, a wing of 36 dormitory rooms was moved to Gahcho Kué Mine, where the modules are being reassembled and renovated for use.
“Wherever possible, we’re looking at opportunities to improve how we close the mine and eliminate avoidable waste,” said Michelle Peters, Snap Lake Mine Closure Manager.
That will include bringing representatives from nearby NWT Indigenous communities to identify equipment and other surplus items that could be donated or sold for reuse.
The Snap Lake closure initiative is building on a recycling program at the company’s Victor Mine in Northern Ontario. There, De Beers worked with site closure contractor WFP Golder. Attawapiskat Enterprises and Priestly Demolition to remove recyclable materials this year and in 2023. In total more than 500 truckloads of recyclable material are expected to be removed from Victor Mine site for resale, with proceeds intended to support community development projects.
As well, more than $25,000 worth of surplus equipment was donated to Attawapiskat during early 2022 and other items are being sold in an auction. The Attawapiskat First Nation has first right of refusal on available surplus assets and will have another opportunity to identify additional items in 2023. An auction of surplus Victor Mine equipment and other assets was held on July 13 and 14.
Snap Lake Mine is located in the Northwest Territories, about 220 km northeast of the capital city of Yellowknife.
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