De Beers and the NWT government signed an agreement in May 2004. Under the deal, 10% of diamond production is used by the NWT government. In May 2004, the company entered into an environmental agreement with the Canadian government and Aboriginal organizations from primary communities. As part of the agreement, the environmental monitoring agency Snap Lake was created to monitor the implementation of the environmental agreement and De Beers` environmental performance. In February 2009, the company announced that it would temporarily close the mine as part of the organizational restructuring. Construction of the Snap Lake project began in 2005 with an investment of $975 million. As of April 2010, $1.4 billion had been spent on the construction and operation of the mine. In order to ensure the identity or quality of production at the Snap Lake mine, the government has the right to oversee the assessment process in Yellowknife and the sale of 10% of Snap Lake diamonds. The diamonds offered for sale under this agreement are made available to local cutting and polishing plants approved by the government as producers and meeting the selection criteria of the diamond trading company. This supports the NWT`s secondary industry.
In September 2009, the company announced the lifting of the four-week winter production shutdown scheduled for December. Underground extraction methods are used for the degradation of the Kimberlit dike. The main entrance to the mine is 5 m wide and 4.5 m high. Flat railless mining equipment is used for easy access to areas with a short head distance and small rooms. A modified space and column method is used for the dismantling of the ore. The ore is mined, leaving behind layers or columns of ore to create separate segments. The deposit is transported underground and the crushed ore is loaded onto an underground conveyor. The mixer is transported to the surface to a process system. In the first year of construction, most of the mine`s access roads were completed. The peripheral dikes of departure cells and the partial dike for the north pile and all the excavation pipes of the ground have also been completed.
Diamond exploration in the mine began in 1955 by Winspear Resource. Winspear discovered the Kimberlit diamond deposit in 1997. In 2008, De Beers decided to restructure the operation of the mine and facilitate production due to the economic downturn.