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GNWT approves Diamonds de Canada Ltd. as diamond manufacturer

The Government of the Northwest Territories has approved Diamonds de Canada Ltd. as an official NWT diamond manufacturer.
A diamond worked on by Diamonds de Canada, which has already been cutting and polishing the gems in the NWT. Photo courtesy of Benjamin King

The Government of the Northwest Territories has approved Diamonds de Canada Ltd. as an official NWT diamond manufacturer.

The agreement ensures that Diamonds de Canada has access to NWT-mined rough diamonds, and that the company’s manufacturing activities, which include cutting and polishing, will occur in the NWT.

Benjamin King, CEO of Diamonds de Canada, was discussing a revised policy framework in the NWT in February 2020, which is what led to approval of this agreement.

“COVID happened and it took us about a year and a half to work our way through the process,” said King. “Then it ended up basically culminating in today’s [Aug. 25] announcement.”

King’s time in Yellowknife assisted him and his colleagues in wanting to to be an “integral part of the community.”

The company is working to refine its processes and configure its equipment, preparing for a formal opening sometime this September or October, according to King.

“We already are processing diamonds [in the NWT] — cutting and polishing diamonds,” he said. “Most of our technology, though, is very unique, very preparatory and custom. So, basically it’s getting the software languages to speak between the different pieces of equipment that were built around the world, and once we’re at a good point, we will showcase the diamonds to the community.”

Diamonds de Canada will be hiring and training NWT residents to operate the technology while also providing instruction on traditional polishing methods.

“We’ve already hired local people,” said King. “And we’re looking to hire more as we grow.”

The company’s business model includes the use of an automated cutting and shaping system that will minimize its footprint while allowing it to be on par with some of the world’s most advanced manufacturers.

“… the GNWT’s diamond industry continues to diversify into the manufacturing of diamonds,” Industry Minister Caroline Wawzonek stated. “Residents will be exposed to new training and job opportunities that will strengthen their communities and the territory as whole. The success of our approved NWT diamond manufacturers will mean the success of our territory’s ability to diversify economically in an existing industry that has already brought economic prosperity to the NWT.”