Canada: A Diamond-Producing Nation

Image of Diamonds

Canada first became a diamond producer in 1998, when the Ekati diamond mine opened in the Northwest Territories. By 2003, Canada had become the world's third-largest diamond producer on a value basis. Ekati's average production over its projected 20-year life is expected to be 3 to 5 million carats per year—about 3% of world diamond production by volume.

The Canadian diamond mining industry employs about 2,650 people in mine operations and another 1,500 in support industries, such as maintenance, catering and transport. Aboriginal persons generally make up 30 to 40 percent of the mining work force.

Canadian Diamond Mines

Diavik, Canada's second diamond mine, began production in 2003. Over its projected 20-year life, its projected 20-year life, it is expected to peak at 11 million carats per year, representing about 6% of the world's total supply.

The Snap Lake diamond mine started production in 2007 and is designed to produce about 1.4 million carats per year. It is located in the Northwest Territories, and owned by De Beers Canada. It’s deposit is unique in that the kimberlite is in the shape of a shallow-dipping dyke, as opposed to the more common carrot-shaped pipe. The kimberlite to be mined over the course of the mine’s life span is estimated at to be about 18.3 million tonnes containing about 1.46 carats per tonne.

The Victor open-pit mine, Ontario's first diamond mine, came into production in 2008. Its ore grade is low, but the value of its extracted diamonds is among the highest in the world. The mine is scheduled to produce about 700,000 carats per year over its 12-year life span.

Kimberley Process for Rough Diamonds

The Kimberley Process for rough diamonds was initiated by several southern African countries to prevent conflict diamonds from entering legitimate markets. Canada was a key player in developing this initiative. By participating in the Kimberley Process, Canada is helping reduce the devastating impact that trade in conflict diamonds is having on peace, security, and sustainable development in affected countries.

Canada's Mines
Find links to the websites of Canada’s four main diamond mines.

World Diamond Mines and Deposits
Download a map of world diamond mines and deposits.

Formation of Diamonds
Learn how diamonds were created deep below the Earth’s crust over the course of millions of years. Includes a brief video.

Diamond Cutting and Polishing
Find out more about how and where diamond cutting and polishing are done in Canada.

Diamonds and Sustainable Development
Learn how Canadian mining companies are leading the way with respect to sustainable development in Canada and abroad.

Other Diamond Links
Look here for links to more information about the diamond industry from sources beyond NRCan, such as diamond mines and the World Diamond Council.

Find out more