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Diamonds in Canada

Diamond exploration began in Canada as early as the 1960s but major kimberlite discoveries were not made until the 1980s. In 1991, the first economic diamond deposit was discovered in the Lac de Gras area of the Northwest Territories. Canada became a diamond producer in October 1998 when the Ekati diamond mine opened about 300 kilometers northeast of Yellowknife. By April 1999, the mine had produced one million carats.

Canadian Diamond Industry

Alberta Diamond Exchange would like to make special acknowledgement to Canadian diamonds and are proud supporters of the Canadian diamond industry. Canada's diamond industry is worth more than $2 billion with all indicators pointing to potential for future growth. Canadian diamond production in 2003 was about 11.6 million carats and in 2004 was 12.6 million carats. Due to the strict government regulations to mine in Canada, mineral rights cannot be purchased, but only leased, by individuals or companies. As a result, the mineral rights on more than 90% of Canada's land are currently owned by government.

The Canadian diamond mines have cost more financially then any other mines to date due to the employee and environmental standards. This factor does increase the price of diamonds, but for very good reasons. The environment must be put back the way it was, and workers must be offered job opportunities with full training and education. The Canadian diamond industry employs about 1200 people in mine operations and over 1000 more in support industries for exploration and mining. In total, the Canadian industry provides some 4000 direct and indirect jobs. Aboriginal persons comprise 30 to 40 percent of the work forces at Ekati and Diavik.

Canadian mining companies are also leading the way in integrating sustainable development into their activities in Canada and abroad. The Canadian mining industry was the first in the world to develop and adopt a national environmental policy. On the international front, some of Canada's major mining companies are involved in projects ranging from delivering health, water and electricity services to reintegrating workers into their communities.

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