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Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine

Located 85 kilometres southeast of the Snap Lake Diamond Mine and approximately 280 kilometres east-northeast of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Ice Infrastructure & Maintenance

Year: 2016–2018
Client: De Beers Canada Inc.
Project Scope Performed Under: Nuna Deton’Cho Winter Road Services Joint Venture, a partnership with Det’on Cho Corporation (Yellowknives Dene First Nation)


Nuna Deton’Cho Winter Road Services Joint Venture provided annual construction and maintenance of the 125-kilometre Gahcho Kué winter site access road, as well as full service operation of Margaret Lake camp. The site access road is located in the Northwest Territories and transverses a 101-kilometre lake ice and 24-kilometre 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, and the typical construction and maintenance schedule is as follows.

  • December: Initial road construction
  • Late January/early February: Allowable full loads
  • Mid to end of March: Road closure

Initial route construction involves clearing snow from the lake ice to an operational width of 40 metres and portage construction to a width of 10 metres. A typical season will see highway-legal full-load weights of 63.5 metric tonnes on an ice plate of 39 inches (3 feet) 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.

Major Earthworks, Surface Works & Site Services Support

Year: 2013–2016
Client: De Beers Canada Inc.
Project Scope Performed Under: Denesoline / Nuna Joint Venture, a partnership with Denesoline Corporation Ltd. (Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation)


Project Scope

  • 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 the 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

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