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Jericho Mine in Nunavut in Financial Straits

by admin ~ November 16th, 2006

On January 27, 2005, Tahera Diamond’s Jericho mine in Nunavut was granted its water license giving it the go-ahead for an open pit and underground mine 350 km southwest of Cambridge Bay promising 60 jobs in the construction phase, and another 166 during the first phase. One year later, January 2006, Tahera begins production of 2,000 tonnes of kimberlite ahead of schedule, and calculates 175 jobs during its eight year lifespan. Fast forward nine months later, and the mine is in trouble with slower-than-expected processing rates, lower quality kimberlite, and a proposed 30 million dollar bailout by Teck Cominco (a zinc and coal mining company in Vancouver). Some may call this venture capitalism, and others corporate welfare. With caribou on the decline throughout the Territories, uncertain environmental impacts, leveraged deals with Teck Cominco and Tiffany, $10 million deficit in the first three months of 2006, and governments expecting profit sharing and northern employment – its surprising that so much can change in so little time. It’s a bitter irony, indeed, that (in the short term) the dreaming and mining of northern hopes and aspirations, and the boom and bust of northern ventures that surround them, may be as precarious and elusive as the diamonds themselves.


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