Ontario Shines as Canada’s Diamond Capital

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario is home to more diamond projects than any other jurisdiction in Canada.  While Ontario has one producing diamond operation, De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine near Attawapiskat, it is home to 131, or 24% of all diamond projects in the country.  There are more than 533 active diamond projects in Canada ranging from grassroots exploration to advanced development to producing mines.

Following Ontario, the Northwest Territories hosts 111 diamond projects, or 20% of the Canadian total, and Nunavut hosts 100 diamond projects, or 19% of the national total. Quebec is home to 84 diamond projects, or 16% of the total.  Following in order of diamond activity are Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon Territory.

The total number of companies exploring for diamonds in Canada is 252 and 180 of those companies are listed on stock exchanges.  There are four operating diamond mines in Canada – Diavik, Ekati and Snap Lake in the Northwest Territories and Victor in Ontario.

Statistics indicate there are more than 900 active diamond projects in the world.  Canada is the leader with more than 500, which is three times the number in Australia, which ranks second. There are approximately 125 diamond projects in South Africa. 

Diamonds are a fascinating commodity in Canada’s mineral inventory.  In the past 12 years, Canada has gone from zero production to the world’s third largest diamond producer.  In 2008, Canada exported $2.8 billion worth of diamonds and accounted for 13% of global production.  Clearly, Canada ranks as the top diamond exploration country, which bodes well for the future.

In Sudbury, Crossworks Manufacturing handles the cutting and polishing of 10% of the production from De Beers Canada’s Victor Mine.  The mine came into production in 2008.   De Beers Canada has partnered with Canadian jeweler Birks & Mayors and Crossworks for the marketing of select “made in Ontario” diamonds.  Also, the Diamond Bourse of Canada is located in downtown Toronto.

Much of the statistical data on Canada’s diamond industry contained in this article is from Intierra Resource Intelligence, which provided it for The Northern Miner’s Diamonds in Canada Magazine November 2010.  Intierra was formed through the merger of Intierra Limited, Minmet Australia and Mineral Information Maps.  It provides information to mineral resource industry professionals and has an office in Toronto.