The diamond mines in northern Canada have completed their annual winter ice road supply updates. The Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. in Canada’s Northwest Territories completed its 2012 winter road resupply on March 28, even though the ice roads weren’t open until February 1 this year.
Diavik trucked 3,160 loads (89,000 tonnes) of fuel, cement, explosives, equipment and other materials, over the winter ice road. This year, supplies also included all the makings for a new wind farm, which is currently under construction. Custom-designed trailers were required for the epoxy-resin turbine blades (pictured) and the steel tower sections. The 33-meter blades were the longest loads ever shipped over the ice road. Other turbine components shipped included the nacelles (generators, stators, and hubs).
Diavik’s wind farm, which is scheduled to be operational later this year, is projected to reduce its annual ice road fuel haul by approximately 100 loads, or more than 1 million gallons per year, and lower its carbon footprint by 6 percent.
In total, operating diamond mines and other users hauled 6,545 loads northbound over the Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road. Rock boxes from the decommissioning of several of Diavik’s 218-tonne haul trucks were among the 656 backhauls. Total tonnage hauled was approximately 210,000 tonnes.
This year, there were four closures due to weather. Three closures occurred during the road’s first week while a late March snow storm suspended operations for four days.
Truck drivers are required to complete special safety training and are dispatched through a computerized system when the ice road is passable. Maximum on-ice speed for fully loaded trucks is 15 miles per hour (25 kilometers per hour).