6 Wednesday December 9 2015 INDUSTRY MINING By CRAIG GILBERT Millions of dollars aside the true value of the Diavik Foxfire is in the story be- hind it. A 187.7-carat gem-quality rough diamond was found at the Diavik diamond mine 300 kilometres north of Yel- lowknife in June-July and re- vealed to the world at Kens- ington Palace in London on Dec. 2 by Diavik Diamond Mines Inc. president Marc Cameron. It is the largest diamond ever produced by a Canadian mine. Its really tough to com- pete with Kensington Palace to put it on the global stage for me to bring visibility to the Diavik mine importantly the North and the people who live there and ultimately the overalldiamondindustrybut most importantly to bring visibility back to the North- west Territories Cameron said. Because of its size 188 carats and the fact that its gem-quality the technical side of the stone will bring signicant value but its the story that will bring the real value along with it. For me thats a strong Northern Ca- nadian story. The prestige stone stands for that story the remote is- land in Lac de Gras closer to the Arctic Circle than the ter- ritorial capital the original engineering feat of bringing an off-grid mine online on a 20 square-kilometre island within about a decade of the rst stake being made the ongoing operation of the mine in one of the most un- forgiving environments on Earth including the larg- est wind farm in the NWT the heavy involvement of Aboriginal and community partners. It was really nice to bring the Diavik mine the people that work there to the global stage and the Northwest Territories and Canadian diamonds overall Cameron said. Overall its a great story behind an exceptional stone. It is a very rare nd. Its two billion years old but its jour- ney is just beginning and itll be interesting to watch where it goes over the next few months moving from a rough diamond to a potential polished diamond. The two billion year-old gem was discovered by an operator in the above-ground Diavik recovery mill before being sent for sizing and cleaning in Yellowknife. At that point this became a special stone as do a lot of our stones of higher quality and higher size Cameron explained. We have a spe- cial mechanism within the business to decide ultimately which joint venture partner is going to become the owner of the stone which in this case was Rio Tinto which owns a controlling 60 per cent stake in the mine. The gem also has a tradi- tional Tlicho name Noieh Kwe or caribou crossing stone. Grand Chief Edward Eras- mus said in a press release he was very pleased the diamonds name honours the caribou crossing which has been critical to the Tli- chosince time immemorial. Its something that very early on we set out to do and was important to us Cam- eronsaid.Weapproachedthe Tlicho one of our Aboriginal partners and asked them if the diamond could be given a local name. They took some time to review that were ex- cited about it. It recognizes the importance of the cari- bou to the Aboriginal people of the North but it also rec- ognizes the island on which the Diavik mine is located. Cameron wouldnt valuate the rough diamond for busi- ness reasons speculating the stonecouldyieldone70-carat or two 35-carat polished di- amonds and several smaller companion diamonds for the heirloom jewellry they will most likely become a part of. The gem will be show- cased in the British capital before returning to Antwerp for careful assessment and planning for the next stage of its journey. The Kensington Palace re- veal was appropriate since the largest diamonds in the world are in the possession of the British royal family as part of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The largest diamond ever found the Cullinan weighed close to 3107 carats when it was discovered in 1905 and was cut into nine gems the larg- est two joining the Crown jewels as the Great Star of Africa and the Second Star of Africa. Diavik opened in 2003 and has produced between six and seven million car- ats of mostly large white high-quality diamonds per year since. We are delighted to show- case this exceptional two bil- lion year-old Canadian dia- mond Rio Tinto Diamonds managingdirectorJean-Marc Lieberherr said in a press re- lease.Itsancientbeginnings together with the fortitude nesse and innovative tech- nology required to unearth a diamond in the challenging sub-arcticenvironmentmake it a true miracle of nature. Miracle Diavik diamond puts NWT on world stage The 187.7-ct Diavik Foxre was discovered in the Diavik Diamond Mine in mid-2015 according to Rio Tinto. PhotocourtesyofRioTinto INDUSTRY MINING Diamond prices down 18 per cent continued from page 1 Construction there is 70 percentcompleteandproduc- tion is still scheduled for late 2016.We know that there will be some challenges but that the economy will recover. Senior bureaucrats with McLeod for the press confer- ence said the value of royalty paymentsbyresourcecompa- niestotheGNWTarekeptse- cret according to regulation. Yellowknife Mayor Mark Heyck told the Journal it was too early to say how many capital residents would be affected by the closure or what impact it would have on the citys budget. Our thoughts are with the individuals and the families who are affected by the De Beersannouncementhesaid. It is our hope this wont be a prolongedmoveandthemine will reopen at some point in the not-too-distant future. NWT and Nunavut Cham- ber of Mines president Tom Hoefer said the closure was a shock the GNWT needs to work to avoid in the future. Statistics the Chamber shared in the wake of the announcement show Snap Lake spent 182 million in the North in 2014 and 2.2 billion in total since 2005 including 863 million with Aboriginal companies. It has created nearly 7000 person- years of employment with 2309 of them worked by Northerners. Snap Lake spent 1.8 mil- lion on social investment in 2014 including 110000 in nancial and in-kind sup- port to the Deninu Ku First NationDKFNDevelopment Corporation according to De Beers. Through the program 20 housing units from the former Snap Lake Mine con- struction camp were donated to the DKFN to support a job training program joint ven- ture between the Develop- ment Corporation and Arc- tic Canada Construction Ltd. NWT businesses provide critical goods and services to Snap Lake including person- nel for site services support transport of fuel and supplies on the winter road logistics and passenger ights cater- ing environmental monitor- ing explosives pipe valves and fittings screening for undergroundgroundsupport shotcrete and other supplies according to the company. Diamond mines created morethan574millionofGDP in2014a21-per-centincrease over the year before spend- ing more than 20 million in property taxes and more than 5 million in fuel taxes. Hoefer said the chamber will continue lobbying gov- ernment as it has for years to improve the territorys in- vestment climate. Hoefer said addressing the costoflivingwhichwasiden- tiedasatopconcernbymine workersinsurveysconducted ve years apart in 2010 and 2015 would be a start. Theres lots of talk but no action he said. He said infrastructure is the other major concern. Thisyearwereleasedare- port called Leveling the Play- ing Field to quantify the cost of living in the North and to come up with ideas for how they can help he said. Its a hot topic has been for a couple of years. Theres lots of talk about building roads and at one point even power lines but again the commit- ments havent been made yet. Im hopeful the Liberal gov- ernment would also come forward with something. While the premier ar- gued in his statement De Beers was subject to forces beyond the GNWTs con- trol Hoefer said there are steps government can take to make the jurisdiction more competitive. Of all the factors that kept us down at the bottom be- tween Yukon and Nunavut where hundredsofmillionsof dollars more has been spent on exploration in the last de- cade we have changed al- most nothing he said. We havent settled land claims we havent changed our ap- proach to alienating lands for conservation purposes as a matter of fact were trying to crank that up even more. So you say all right lets say the market changed tomorrow. Would that graph improve I dont think so. If we get more peopleuphereinvestingwere going to nd more robust de- posits we can mine.