Diamonds were first discovered in North America a quarter century ago in the NWT by Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson (Dia Met Minerals). A cluster of kimberlites in the Northwest Territories that became Ekati, Canada’s first diamond mine in 1998. With three active diamond mines and a fourth under development, the NWT has benefited enormously from diamond mining activities.
The original discovery in Lac de Gras, 300 kms from Yellowknife, led to a massive staking rush and to the development of the Ekati mine which was opened in 1998. A second mind, Diavik opened in 2003, followed by Snap Lake in 2008. Canada came from no diamond production to one of the world’s major players.
In 2013 :
Construction at a fourth diamond mine, Gaucho Kue, is underway. Production is expected in late 2016, with a workforce of 400 required. This mine is deemed to be the world’s largest and richest new diamond mine, with reserves of 55 million carats. A mine life of 17 years is expected.
The Kennady North project, located next to Gaucho Kue shows great promise. Advanaced exploration continues.
Approximately 3,000 people are employed in the NWT diamond mines.
The global weakness in commodity prices has not affected the diamond miners. Robust exploration has continued and new mines are being developed. The NWT has benefited greatly by the economic activities of diamond mines and exploration plays.