The Gahcho Kué mine—one of the 10 largest diamond mines in the world—will formally open today. The mine sits about 280 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife and is only 80 kilometres southeast of De Beer’s recently closed Snap Lake diamond mine.
The mine, which is co-owned by De Beers Canada (51 per cent) and Mountain Province Diamonds (49 per cent), is estimated to provide a $6.7 billion boost to the Canadian economy over its anticipated 12-year lifespan. Already, the mine has generated $440 million for the Northwest Territories’ economy. Gahcho Kué is expected to produce about 4.5 million carats annually.
De Beers has been working with local First Nations and Métis communities to ensure the mutual benefit of the Gahcho Kué mine. Some of the objectives established by De Beers and First Nations include: protecting and preserving the environment, improved access across the land facilitated by infrastructure projects, integrating and promoting equal use of traditional knowledge in environmental monitoring, and ongoing review of priority issues.
Gahcho Kué is a $1 billion investment in Canada’s diamond production industry at a time of growing volatility in the market. “Volatility is here to stay as global markets are likely to continue to fluctuate,” De Beers said in its 2016 market report. Despite market fluctuation Canada’s diamond production continues to expand—last year Canada was the third largest diamond producer by value of the countries tracked by the Kimberley Process.