The Diavik Diamonds Project is virtually complete, and the first diamonds will be delivered at the end of January.
This will be the second Canadian mine. It is an unincorporated joint venture between Diavik Diamond Mines (60%), a wholly owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto plc, London, and Aber Diamond Mines (40%), a wholly owned subsidiary of Aber Diamond Corp., Toronto.
Meanwhile, Canadian Trade Minister Pierre Pettigrew said in Antwerp that Canada aims to become one of the world’s largest diamond producers, and will rival Botswana and Russia, currently the world’s top producers.
With an additional third mine at Snap Lake, run by De Beers, likely to start production in 2005, Canada will become the world’s third largest diamond producer, worth more than $1 billion a year and 17 percent of the market after 2006.
Pettigrew added that he was pleased with ongoing joint cooperation and training programs set up with Antwerp’s High Diamond Council, which is currently training some 70 specialist cutters in Yellowknife. He said the mine provided vital jobs for the local native population, which has high unemployment. Tiffany has plans to build a diamond cutting and sorting plant in Yellowknife, to coincide with the opening of the Diavik mine, from which it will buy some $50 million a year.