Underground mining is a highly technical occupation, where training and experience are put to the test.

As Canada’s first fully underground diamond mine, a successful training program like the Underground Miner Training Program, offered through the Northwest Territories Mine Training Society (MTS), is important to De Beers Snap Lake Mine. This program provides a steady influx of well-trained NWT residents who are ready to join our mining ranks and take on exciting new career openings.

In November 2013, we hired four graduates of the MTS program to permanent positions in the Snap Lake Mine Operations team – three Aboriginal residents of the NWT and one female. All four had just completed work experience terms at Snap Lake.

“The MTS program does a good job to prepare people for working underground,” says Herman Henning, Mining Manager. “We were pleased to have positions open so that we could make job offers to four trainees immediately after their work experience terms ended.”

Graduate Jerry Enzoe, of Lutsel K’e, has done a little bit of everything since he started at the mine, including working on the boom truck, hauling gear, installing pipes and ventilation and concrete work underground.

“I really like how everyone works as a team,” said Enzoe. Previous to mining, he worked in municipal services in his home community – driving the water truck and sewer truck.

Evelin Barton, one of 19 women on the Snap Lake mine operations team, says she finds working underground both “fascinating and challenging.” She, too, has tried her hand at a range of jobs underground, including operating the lube truck fueling other vehicles, driving the personnel carrier, working on the crusher, and currently running the underground rock breaker.

In December we are bringing in four new MTS mine trainees to start six-week work experience terms.

Since 2008, De Beers has hired 22 graduates from the Underground Miner Training Program, of whom 17 continue to work at Snap Lake.

De Beers has been a longtime supporter of the Underground Miner Training Program, providing annual financial contributions and appointing a member of our human resources team to sit on the society’s board of directors. In 2012, De Beers pledged $5.1 million in cash and in-kind services to the society in a multi-year commitment to support training opportunities at Snap Lake and eventually at our proposed Gahcho Kué diamond mine.