Adding Value to Canadian Diamond Production
Diamonds were discovered in Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT) ten years ago. Since then Canada has developed into a significant global player in diamond exploration, mining and production. Canada has also developed a small but growing diamond cutting and polishing industry, centered in the NWT. The Government of the NWT (GNWT) has strongly supported the principle of adding value to the diamonds before they leave the jurisdiction. In order to achieve our vision, a severe learning curve had to be overcome, as did resistance within the global diamond industry. Government support programs had to be revised and new approaches developed. Significant challenges in training and financing are still being addressed. While the people of the NWT addressed local and regional issues, the global diamond industry underwent radical changes, moving from the 19th century to the 21st century in under 10 years. Currently, there are three factories operating in the NWT, employing over 110 people, training 45 northerners, producing and selling polished diamonds for the Canadian and US market. Two of the factories are participating in the GNWT Certification Program that provides audited independent substantiation of any marketing or advertising claims with respect to the Canadian origin of the diamonds.