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Ontario charts new territory in diamond cutting, polishing

September 1, 2008
by Adelle Larmour
In: News with 0 Comments

A new value-added industry in the diamond sector is in the works in Ontario.

An agreement in principle between the provincial government and DeBeers Canada has allowed government officials to move forward with a competition for eligible companies interested in developing a cutting and polishing facility in the province.The province will receive 10 per cent of the DeBeers Victor Mine production, by value, an estimated $25-million worth of rough stones annually.

“We are pleased to be working with DeBeers on this,” said Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle. “We felt it was important from the point of view of the provincial economy.”

On July 7, Gravelle attended a reception at Canada House in London, England, to promote an international competition among 78 so-called “Sightholders,” all clients of the DeBeers Diamond Trading Company. The application process opened July 18 for companies interested in the opportunity to set up a cutting and polishing business in Ontario.

“It was a very positive experience,” Gravelle said. “We had a good turnout of potential companies. I tried very much to encourage them to think about partnering with First Nations and other communities within the province.”

With only four Sightholders in Canada, cutting and polishing in Ontario represents a new addition to the province’s economy.

“It has worked well in the North West Territories ,” said Ashley Brown, external communications specialist for DeBeers Canada. A similar industry was established near Yellowknife at DeBeers’ Snap Lake project, and has been underway for about eight years.

The successful applicant for Ontario will be determined by a combination of MNDM and DeBeers diamond experts. Gravelle could not comment on the location of a cutting and polishing facility, the number of jobs to be created, or the application deadline. However, he is hopeful there may be spinoff jobs in jewellery manufacturing and tourism.

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