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Snap Lake Mine, De Beers' first diamond mine outside of Africa, is 220 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. Snap Lake is Canada's first completely underground diamond mine.


Location: 63° 34’ 30” latitude and 110° 52’ 00” longitude, about 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife

Mine Area: <500 hectares

2014 Production: 1.2M carats


Snap Lake Mine, De Beers’ first mine outside of Africa, is located 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife. A completely underground diamond mine, the Snap Lake ore body is a 2.5 metre thick dyke that dips an average of 12-15° from the northwest shore down under the lake. It is unlike most diamond-bearing kimberlite deposits which are known as ‘pipes’ due to their conical or carrot-like shape.

By December 31, 2014 $2.2 billion had been spent on construction and operation of the mine. Of that total, $1.5 billion has been spent with NWT-based contractors and suppliers, including $863 million with Aboriginal businesses or Joint Ventures.

Also, the mine commenced commercial production on January 16, 2008 and the Official Mine Opening took place on July 25, 2008. It was placed into care and maintenance on December 4, 2015.

Snap Lake Mine has received a number of awards during its lifetime:

  • 2013 Western Region John T. Ryan safety award (Select Mines)
  • 2009 Western Region John T. Ryan safety award (Select Mines)
  • 2009 NWT Ministerial Literacy Award (Books in Homes)