De Beers’ Monopros has proceeded to the bulk sampling stage at its project near Attawapiskat in the James Bay area of northern Ontario. The property, owned and developed solely by Monopros, contains 18 kimberlites, one of which, “Victor,” is being tested.
According to Richard Molyneux, the new president of De Beers Canada—replacing George Burne, who retired in January—the site would be easier to mine than the company’s Mountain Province project in the Northwest Territories, for several reasons. Although the pipes are situated in a bog-like terrain that would require drainage, they are not underwater, so environmental contamination issues would not be an issue. Also the Ontario government is seen as being more compliant regulatory speaking, than that of the Northwest Territories. In addition, the pipes, unlike those at Mountain Province, do not contain granite and will require less extensive drilling and processing.
If the site ever proceeds to the mine stage, Molyneux says he may propose an equity type of agreement with native groups as opposed to the type of lump-sum socio-economic agreements negotiated in the Northwest Territories.
“Those are big projects with numbers that have blown expectations way out of proportion,” he says. Molyneux is a geologist by training, and was general manager at Central Mines in Kimberly before moving to Canada. He joined De Beers as an exploration geologist in 1971.