"Through our Building Forever strategy we are focused on implementing sustainable initiatives to ensure that we build a positive, lasting legacy that will endure long after the last De Beers Group diamond has been mined."
How has De Beers Group restructured its management to consolidate its South African and Canadian assets?
The restructuring is subsequent to a strategic review which identified key success factors for our upstream business. The new business, De Beers Group Managed Operations, will streamline operational management and identify synergies to create a more sustainable business in the two countries.
Where is the company currently focused in Canada?
We are excited about our operations in the Northwest Territories. The plant at the Gahcho Kué Mine, a joint venture between De Beers Group and Mountain Province Diamonds, was designed with a capacity of 3 million mt/y. The team has since been able to improve the efficiency of the plant which can now comfortably process an additional 10% above its capacity rate.
In Ontario and Manitoba we are conducting exploration in several projects resulting in numerous exciting drill targets. We are also working with Adia Resources to investigate the Lynx projects, which have returned abundant microdiamonds, and with Tri Origin Exploration on their projects in the Abitibi area.
In Nunavut, we continue to progress the Chidliak project with drilling, environmental baseline studies and geological and geotechnical assessments. De Beers Group continues to see the acquisition of Chidliak project as part of the purchase of Peregrine Diamonds as a profitable investment with high potential. Linked to the Chidliak diamond resource, we have initiated Project Arctic Fox, which is involved with identifying technologies that we need to apply to reduce our mining footprint with minimal impact to the environment.
Can you elaborate on De Beers Group’s aim to build mines that leave no footprint?
De Beers Group has recognized that we need to find new and sustainable ways to recover diamonds. We have made significant studies that showed that approximately half of our emissions currently come from the use of fossil fuels, with the other half coming from the use of electricity. We are implementing the Project Terra initiative to address key energy and carbon impacts and we are setting targets for reducing our carbon emissions and greenhouse gas emissions.
Project Minera is De Beers Group’s research and development initiative that is investigating the potential for carbon-sequestration. We are working in collaboration with scientists and academics from five universities across Canada and Australia. Together, we are examining different mineral carbonation technologies and testing them out in laboratories and on mine sites. We are very excited as this could usher in a whole new era of sustainable mining.
How has the evolving consumer demographic for diamonds impacted the market?
There are many different consumers in the market with different preferences. The younger generations still have a strong desire for diamonds, but they exhibit different behaviors than previous generations. Millennials value authenticity, uniqueness and ethically-sourced products. Over the years, the De Beers Group has made investments into having a responsible footprint and we recognize that millennials want to know that the diamonds they are buying serve a greater purpose and therefore we continue to create awareness of our socio-economic investment and sustainable initiatives.
Through our Building Forever strategy we are focused on implementing sustainable initiatives to ensure that we build a positive, lasting legacy that will endure long after the last De Beers Group diamond has been mined. We work in partnership at a local, national and global level, particularly in two areas in which we believe we're uniquely placed to make a significant impact: 'Standing with Women and Girls' and 'Protecting the Natural World'.
Regarding our commitment to standing with women and girls, in September 2017 we announced our three-year partnership with UN Women. Through this, De Beers Group became a HeForShe Thematic Champion and is committed to standing with women and girls throughout our company, within our communities and across our brands. We also have the ambition to leave a lasting and positive legacy across every part of our business, while also helping to strengthen the relationship between people and nature through our commitment to protecting the natural world. Be it through the 200,000 hectares we have set aside for conservation, the nature reserves we own and manage across southern Africa or our translocation of 200 elephants to a country that desperately needs them, we believe in the importance of forever.