Archive | Diamond Mining

De Beers Canada Victor Mine Creates Enormous Opportunities for Northern Ontario First Nations

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 Mining Association member De Beers Canada’s Victor diamond mine is a sparkling example of promoting Aboriginal employment.  The Victor diamond mine, which is located about 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat in the James Bay lowlands, currently has 226 employees from First Nations, or 43% of its workforce.

More than 90 employees from this group are from Attawapiskat with large representation from Fort Albany, Moosonee and Moose Factory and Kashechewan and 40 are from First Nations outside the James Bay area.  In Canada, mining is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginals.  This group comprises 7.5% of the mining workforce, which is up from 3.6% of the country’s total mineral sector workforce in 2006.

The Victor Mine operates with three different impact-benefit agreements – one each with Attawapiskat, Fort Albany/Kashechewan and Moose Factory/Moosonee.  “Negotiating the impact-benefit agreement is the relatively easy bit, implementing it is the tough part and making sure everyone understands their role is more difficult,” said Jonathan Fowler, De Beers Canada Vice President Aboriginal Affairs and Sustainability. 

“One of our strengths is in striving to build a culture of diversity,” he added.  “We don’t believe in a having a specific percentage of First Nation employment.  We want to provide opportunities for people to grow and develop and the real target is to maximize First Nation employment.” Continue Reading →

Diamonds and Gold – A Common Past, Present and Future – by By Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice-president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

With due respect to cobalt and coal, it is fair to state that diamonds and gold are the world’s two most prestigious minerals.  They are the minerals that hold the deepest emotional meaning among consumers, with traditional and cultural ties to commitment, union, luck, love and marriage.  They are also the minerals that are most indicative of personal wealth, affluence, sophistication and social status.  These two minerals and the corresponding industries have long shared a number of similarities in terms of the surrounding market-drivers, price mark-ups and social pressures.     

For example, the fundamental driver of the global market in both gold and diamonds is jewelry.  According to the World Gold Council, fully 68% of the world’s demand for gold over the past five years was for use in jewelry.  While the delineation is less exact in diamonds, it is estimated that gem-quality diamonds used in jewelry account for over 80% of the value of the world diamond market. 

A second point, and the converse from the above, is to note that the industrial application market for diamonds and gold is relatively modest in size.  Only 14% of world gold demand stems from industrial uses (while the remaining 18% is for investment purposes).  While there are important industrial uses in dental, electronics, medical and environmental fields, and growing potential in nanotechnology, these industrial uses for gold face the challenge of being commercially feasible at raw material price points that are currently well north of $1000 per ounce.  Continue Reading →

De Beers Canada – Sustainable Mining Contributes to Northern Economies and Aboriginal Employment

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.

De Beers Canada celebrated two official diamond mine openings back-to-back in July 2008 – the Victor Mine in Ontario and the Snap Lake Mine in the Northwest Territories. However, the path to those production start-ups took a circuitous and difficult journey of almost 50 years. It took vision, faith and dedication to complete the trek.

De Beers, which is acknowledged as the world’s leading diamond company, began in 1888 in South Africa. The company commenced its exploration activities in Canada in the early 1960s with a staff of four. The first geological field season for De Beers in Canada was 1961.

If you move forward almost half a century to 2009 and De Beers Canada’s first full year of production, you can look at the results. From an operational standpoint, Victor turned out 696,000 carats and Snap Lake produced 444,000 carats for a total diamond output of 1,140,000 carats. This led to a revenue of $316.4 million ($243.7 Victor and $72.7 Snap Lake).

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Diamond Industry Grinds to a Halt – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

The global diamond industry is suffering the same economic downturn as the rest of the world. Consumers who may be out of work or watching their investments shrink are in no mood to buy luxury goods. The result is falling diamond prices as demand shrinks.

Diamond prices have been under pressure for over a year. One Canadian producer has already bit the dust. Tahera Diamond Corp. closed its Jericho mine in Nunavut and filed for protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act in January 2008. Its assets are for sale.

Even the largest diamond producer is feeling the pinch. Word has reached us from Diamond World Magazine of Mumbai, India, that De Beers Canada plans to suspend operations at its Snap Lake mine in the Northwest Territories for a total of 10 weeks this year. This is on top of the 105 contract workers that were laid off in November 2008. Remaining employees will be asked to take vacations or accept salary adjustments to cover a six-week closure this summer and a further four-week closure at the end of this year.

De Beers January sales of rough diamonds to selected customers was at a 25-year low. The January 2008 sales garnered $650 million, but this year’s offering drew only an estimated $80 million to $150 million. The drop is a reflection of the depth of economic woes in the United States, where consumers purchase 50% of the world’s diamonds.

I’ll do my part to support the diamond industry. I’m saving towards the purchase of a Canadian diamond. Too bad the federal budget didn’t offer a tax credit for buying Canadian luxury goods.

Diamonds, Diamonds Everywhere – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Imagine finding an exceptional, gem-quality white diamond weighing 189.6 carats. ROCKWELL DIAMONDS of Vancouver has done exactly that at its Klipdam mine near Kimberley, South Africa. The company reports that the stone is “oval in shape, somewhat flattened and strongly resorbed, and shows features typical of top colour high-value Type-2 gemstones.”

That description is sure to get everyone’s attention. So will the pictures of diamonds as large as 212-ct in the Diamond Gallery at

No less worthy of attention are recent exploration efforts for Canadian diamonds. Teams are finding diamonds and kimberlites at an astonishing rate this summer. Here are a few of them.

Vancouver’s COMMITTEE BAY RESOURCES and INDICATOR MINERALS reported the discovery of kimberlite boulders at the Borden project in Nunavut. Indicator minerals were visually identified in the float, and samples of the boulders have been sent for analysis.

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Excerpt From Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold:Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

More Than Free Gold - Michael Barnes

Our Best Friend
Kimberlites with Diamonds

With the discovery of diamonds in the kimberlite bodies of the Lac de Gras district in the N.W.T., Canada emerged as a major diamond producer, challenging South Africa, Botswana, Australia and Russia in both quality and quantity of diamond production.

Diamond hunting is difficult because kimberlite outcrops are rare, due to the fact that the rock is easily eroded; often a chunk of the stuff will crumble in the hand.

The big mining news in the eighties was of the gold at Hemlo, but in that decade two men were searching for a much more elusive quarry. Veteran prospector Chuck Fipke and geologist Dr. Stu Blusson spent all they had and all they could borrow to finance a quest for diamonds.

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