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YELLOWKNIFE, N.W.T. — The ice road to the Diavik Diamonds mine in the Northwest Territories has been closed for the winter after setting a record for truck loads.

By Apr. 11 of this year, 7,800 loads had been hauled by all users of the ice road including Diavik, Echo Bay Mines, BHP and De Beers.

Aber Diamond Corp. says this past winter about 4,100 tractor-trailer loads where moved to the mine construction site at Lac de Gras, NWT.

Materials trucked to site included 2,239 loads of construction materials and mining equipment; 1,067 loads of fuel; 700 loads of bulk material — including cement, bentonite, and explosives — and 83 loads of concrete reinforcing steel.

As a result of the success, Aber can accelerated the site’s construction program, the company says.

Diamond production is scheduled to begin in 2003.

The 2001 winter ice road officially opened for light traffic on Feb. 4, and then for full axle loads on Feb. 26.

Previous records for loads were set in 1999, when just under 3,900 loads were hauled.

Nuna Logistics operated the road.

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