With the recent approval of Diamonds de Canada, the NWT gem industry could be looking at a possible, second economic-boost after the pandemic effectively shut it down in 2020.
Diamonds de Canada isn’t the only interested business, according to Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) Caroline Wawzonek.
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“There were two others that had shown an interest,” said Wawzonek. “Or at least had taken initial steps, one of them being Diamonds de Canada, who’s now completed that process. Then the second one is still showing interest, I don’t know where they might be in the course of making an application or seeking an approval.”
Though the details surrounding the organization remain unknown, their undertaking of application is part of the ITI’s Approved NWT Diamond Manufacturers (or ANDM) program-based strategy.
“So what that means is,” said Wawzonek. “We have diamond producing mines which is sort of the very front end of the diamond chain in the mineral resource sector. We work with the [sector] on royalties, taxation, impact benefit agreements, all those different pieces that we have to try to maximize the value of that part of what happens in the diamond industry.”
“Once the diamonds enter their chain,” continued Wawzonek. “There’s a lot of other points along the way where we don’t have an active role and we don’t necessarily see any further economic benefit.”
To counteract this, and capture some of the aforementioned value, the department had approved Diamonds de Canada as part of the program.
“It’s [ANDM] has been around for about a decade,” said Wawzonek. “This approach of trying to encourage some sort of manufacturing locally here in the territory. As of 2018, they revamped that program a little bit, got a lot of really positive response to it internationally.”
“The most recent announcement was Diamonds De Canada,” continued Wawzonek. “They’ve gone through the processes of applying to be an approved manufacturer, and with that, it brings bigger investments to the territories, it creates some jobs in the territories, and hopefully creates a little bit of buzz around the fact that we have this program here.”