The bright side of the diamond supply gap – by Daniel Israelson (Globe and Mail – February 27, 2018)

For investors scratching their heads about the future of volatile world markets this year, David Whittle offers an alternative: Say it with diamonds. “We’re the largest new diamond mine in the Northwest Territories,” says Mr. Whittle, interim president and CEO of Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. (MPVD).

His Toronto-based company is a 49-per-cent joint venture partner with mining giant De Beers Canada Inc. in the mine called Gahcho Kué, a remote fly-in/fly out operation 280 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife.

“De Beers is the operator. They run it hands-on, and we’re fully involved with the oversight and management. We take a fulsome role in the decision-making,” Mr. Whittle says. The mine started pre-commercial production in 2016 and went into commercial production in the middle of last year.

“We’ve been at what’s called full-rate production since last May,” Mr. Whittle says. “The diamonds we produce are ‘split in kind.’ We take our 49 per cent and DeBeers takes its 51 per cent and we go off and sell our diamonds separately.”

The rough diamonds extracted and eventually sold by Mountain Province after processing are used for jewellery, and marketed around the world. China and other parts of Asia are considered important primary markets.

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