The Canadian Diamond Business: An Overview
Although the ancient geologic terranes of Canada are ideal hosts for diamond pipes, systematic diamond exploration only commenced in the 1950’s. In 1991 exploration activity in Canada increased dramatically after the initial kimberlite discoveries in the Lac de Gras region of the Northwest Territories. Canada’s first diamond mine, Ekati, opened in 1998, the second mine, Diavik, commenced production in 2003. Based on the diamond production from these two mines, Canada is now the third leading diamond producer in the world by revenue behind Botswana and Russia. This represents approximately 15 percent of the world’s production of gem quality diamonds. Canada is now entering its second phase of growth, which will see four additional diamond mines by 2010. The third diamond mine, Tahera’s Jericho mine in Nunavut, has recently commenced production and De Beers is advancing three additional projects in Northwest Territories and Ontario through permitting and construction. Second stage Bulk samples exceeding 1,000 tonnes are planned on five projects this year. Two of these, Ashton’s Foxtrot project in Quebec and Shore Gold’s Star kimberlite in Saskatchewan represent potential new emerging diamond mining districts that are at the pre-feasibility stage. Canada’s wider exploration potential is yet to be fully realized with recognition of new diamond districts continuing throughout the country and new early stage significant discoveries each year.