Gahcho Kué Project
Mine Site Winter Access Road (2015-Present)
Completed: In Progress
Client: De Beers Canada Inc.
Nuna Deton’Cho Winter Road Services Joint Venture, a partnership with Det’on Cho Corporation (Yellowknives Dene First Nation), secured a 3-year contract in February 2015 for the construction and maintenance of the 125 km Gahcho Kué winter site access road; and provision of a full-service camp at Margaret Lake. The site access road transverses 101 km lake ice and 24 km portages with a take-off from the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road to the Gahcho Kué mine site. The first construction season commenced December 2015 with typical construction and maintenance schedule: December – initial road construction; late-January/early-February – allowable full loads; and mid to end of March – road closure. Initial route construction involves clearing snow from the lake ice to an operational width of 40 m; and portage construction to a width of 10 m. A typical season will see highway legal full load weights of 63.5 metric tonnes on an ice plate of 39” (3’) or greater. Aside from the usual remote Northern construction challenges, lack of infrastructure, storms, and achieving cold temperatures to build ice, the route also has several archeologically sensitive areas alongside that must be protected and avoided.
Ad-Hoc Labour Services (2019-2020)
MET/Nuna Joint Venture (MNJV), a partnership with North Slave Métis Alliance, has been providing ad-hoc labour services at Gahcho Kué since late fall 2019 and are expected to be on site through to the end of summer 2020 at minimum. Through the provision of a small crew of multi-skilled equipment operators, MNJV assists with ongoing dam raise construction and other small-scale earthworks projects to supplement the Client’s existing crews. Working on an ongoing rotational basis, the crew of operators are providing dozer and loader operations at various locations as well as assistance with dewatering activities when required. The crew work under the direction of De Beers and are fully integrated into the site team.
Earthworks & Site Services (2013-2018)
Denesoline / Nuna Joint Venture (DNJV) performed major earthworks, surface works, and site services support during the development stage of the Gahcho Kué Project. DNJV’s 2013-2016 multi-scope contract included:
- Pioneering and construction of a 2.5 km all-weather camp access road.
- Planning and development of the construction quarry which produced 750,000 m3 of blasted material.
- Construction of the Phase 1 crusher pad to facilitate the setup of the aggregate crusher.
- Operation and maintenance of the aggregate crusher and production of approximately 140,000 m3 of crushed materials.
- Construction of a 12 km of permanent all-weather site access road network.
- Hauling and placement of 150,000 m3 of run-of-mine material and crushing aggregate to construct the camp and plant pad to accommodate erection of a 450-person camp, process plant, shop, and other ancillary buildings.
- Construction of 2 HDPE lined tank farms to quarter 22 million liters of fuel.
- Development of various storage laydown pads throughout the site.
- Field design and installation of a dewatering system to allow for safe dewatering of Kennedy Lake during winter months.
- Operation and monitoring of the dewatering system, effectively discharging approximately 2,000,000 m3 of water.
- Foundation construction and erection of 2 buildings to provide 33,200 square feet of cold and warm storage area.
- Site service support for the 2015 winter road offload program which encompassed unloading and placing 2,400 loads.
- Construction of a 5,500’ permanent airstrip capable of supporting Boeing 737 aircraft.
Upon completion of the major earthworks contract, Nuna continued to provide ad-hoc equipment operator services to supplement De Beers’ mining and construction crew until the end of 2018.
Nisha & Gahcho Kué Exploration Projects, NT/NU (2003-2006)
Denesoline / Nuna Joint Venture (DNJV), a partnership with Denesoline Corporation Ltd. (Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation), provided support for De Beers Canada’s exploration projects in the Slave Geological Region, NU and NT. Scope included: pioneering and construction of a winter access route to support transportation of fuel from Yellowknife to site; preparation of a temporary ice airstrip for delivery of fuel and re-supply; coordination of fuel purchase and transportation from Yellowknife; coordination of the airlift to Lupin; and route selection and construction of a 125 km winter road to Gahcho Kué (included mobilization of construction and drill/blast equipment, transportation of bulk sample to Yellowknife, fuel transportation to site, dam construction, and provisioning fully staffed camp facilities).