The Snap Lake Mine project was De Beer’s first foray into the diamond play in Canada's Northwest Territories. The mine site is located approximately 220 kilometers (137 mi.) northeast of Yellowknife, and is only accessible via airplane and, for four months of the year, via ice road through some of the most remote land in the country. Prior to this, De Beers had primarily focused their operations in South Africa, so when they came into remote northern Canada, they were looking for contracting partners that could provide the logistical expertise to build on a remote work site. PCL Energy Inc. (formerly Monad Industrial Constructors Inc.) was able to provide this value through a joint-partnership with Procon Mining. Each partner brought their expertise to the project: Procon about underground rock bolting, and PCL Energy about the logistics, planning, and execution of a remote mining project. Work included installation of the complete underground facility including all major systems.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the work, which occurred 900 vertical meters (2,952 ft.) and 1500 horizontal meters (4,931 ft.) underground, beneath the lake bed, there were numerous engineering issues and design changes throughout the project. PCL Energy was able to react to these changes, and with an extensive contact base of suppliers and transport companies, kept the project moving forward.