Ever wonder where diamonds come from? A few years ago Bryce and Lorna Sherring had the exciting opportunity to tour the first Canadian diamond mine, Etaki. An eye opening experience to say the least! They also brought back with them a tonne of interesting information. Here are some snippets from their trip!
A Little Bit of History
Located in the breath-taking terrain of Canada’s NorthWest Territories, the Etaki mine is located 310 km northwest of Yellowknife. That’s about 200 km south of the Arctic Circle! It was the first diamond mine site to be discovered in Canada and has been in full production since 1998.
The dazzling diamonds we know today were first formed deep beneath the earth’s surface millions of years ago! They were then brought to the surface through great acts of nature we call volcanoes and the kimberlite magma that erupts from them.
As Bryce explains in a recent interview, “where there’s volcanos, there is a good chance there is kimberlite. And where there is kimberlite there’s a good chance there’s diamonds”. This knowledge is what led Canadian geologists Charles Fipke and Stuart Blusson on the path to discovering the Etaki mine site in 1991.
Look, Don’t Touch!
During their time at Etaki, Bryce and Lorna toured two surface (open) pits, the processing plant, the underground building and the truck stop. They were blown away by the sheer size of the operation! And as you can imagine, the security was quite tight at the diamond mine! As Bryce recalls, they “were in a room…with millions of dollars of rough rock. And every six inches around the ceiling was a camera.”
There were also very specific instructions for behaviour while touring some of the areas. They were told to “go in and look at all the diamonds...we’ll show you everything… but keep your hands up and if you put your hands in your pockets we’re gonna pull you out of the room.” Sometimes easier said than done!
A Different Kind of Screen Time
With all of the advances in technology, another surprise was in the way the day to day mining operations are now being run. One of those advances being robotic mining, which allows the operator to work safely from behind a screen!
Bryce was particularly impressed with the set up. “They’ve got a great big 60 inch TV, they’ve got a recliner! And I’m thinking they’re relaxing after a shift or something. You know what they’re doing? They were working! They were mining!”
With exercise equipment also available on site, a 12 hour mining shift can look very different now than it used to in the past.
While touring the mine site, Bryce and Lorna were especially impressed with the care and attention spent on environmental concerns and community connections.
Along with the excellent working conditions, these factors are what make Etaki a global example of responsible mining. Sherring Gold Diamonds is proud to support these initiatives with their selection of Maple Leaf Diamonds, many of them from this very location!