Canada is currently the world’s third largest diamond producing country in the world, producing approximately 15% of the world’s diamonds. Canadian diamonds are well known for their guaranteed “conflict-free” origins. Along with the other diamond producing countries, Canada follows the Kimberley Process and has taken a strong leadership role in the diamond industry ensuring their diamonds are produced with strict adherence to ethical and environmental guidelines and fair labour practices.
Canadian Diamond Mines Currently in Production
Ekati is Canada’s first surface and underground diamond operation and a a joint venture between Dominion Diamond Corporation (80%), and the two geologists who discovered kimberlite pipes north of Lac de Gras, Chuck Fipke and Stewart Blusson each holding a 10% stake in the mine. To date, Ekati has produced nearly 40 million carats of uncut diamond stones out of 6 open pit mines.
Diavik, Canada’s second diamond mine, began production in January 2003. Diavik is located approximately 190 miles north of Yellowknife and is one of the largest open pit diamond mines in the world. During its projected 20-year life, average diamond production from this mine is expected to be around 8 million carats annually and to peak at 11 Mct, representing about 6% of the world’s total supply. The mine is currently in a transitional shift from open pit to underground mining, and the life span of the mine is expected to be 16 to 22 years from its opening in 2003. The Diavik mine is owned by a joint venture between the Dominion Diamond Corporation and Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. (60%), a subsidiary of Rio Tinto Group.
Victor mine is first mine located in Ontario and the second mine constructed and ran by DeBeers. Victor is an open pit mine and began development in January 2006 came into production in spring 2008. At full capacity, the mine is expected to produce about 600 000 carats per year over a 12-year open-pit mine life.
Snap Lake Mine
The Snap Lake Diamond Mine is located about 220 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife as well, not far from Diavik and began production in early autumn 2007. Snap Lake is also unique as Canada’s first completely underground mine. Snap lake is 100% owned by DeBeers and was their first mine outside of Africa. DeBeers spent nearly $900 million with local contractors and suppliers building the mine. Snap Lake is expected to produce 1.5 million carats annually and have an approximate life span of 20 years from its opening.