Reserving just 10% of Stornoway’s production volume would create 100 jobs for cutters and polishers alone, said Melisende president Harry Ohanessian. He said Melisende is willing to teach Quebecers how to cut diamonds to create a local cutting base.
“We’re all waiting for this,” Mr. Ohanessian said in an interview Tuesday, adding the key element of any agreement is asking Stornoway to provide bigger and higher-grade diamonds, not just lower-quality smaller stones. He argues the NWT’s processing effort was crippled by the lower-calibre of diamonds being provided to the cutters by the mines, which wasn’t good enough to make up for higher operating costs in Yellowknife.
Negotiations between the Quebec government and Stornoway continue and “all options” are on the table including mandating a dedicated volume for local processors, Quebec Natural Resources Minister Martine Ouellet told reporters at Stornoway’s head office Tuesday. “Our desire is to create jobs in Quebec. So now we’re at the stage of examining which stage of processing has the most opportunity for job creation.”