(Check against delivery)
On behalf of Premier Bob Mcleod, and the Government and residents of the Northwest Territories, my congratulations today to DeBeers Canada, Mountain Province Diamonds and those of you who make up the great Gahcho Kué mine family.
The official opening of this mine marks the latest chapter in our proud 25-year history with diamonds in the Northwest Territories.
Throughout this history, we have been fortunate to have operators that share our government’s belief that collaboration, community development, and sustainability are essential to successful resource projects.
This spirit of collaboration has brought billions in economic activity, thousands of jobs, and millions in direct investment into our communities.
As we celebrate the opening of a new mine today, we do so with old friends - the talented, dedicated team that is DeBeers Canada; a team which has been investing in the resources and peoples of the North for over a decade.
Of course, it was Mountain Province Diamonds, whose aggressive exploration campaign - more than 20 years ago –set the stage for this event today.
Without that first pipe of kimberlite, there is no mine; and without dedicated explorers there is no discovery. In Mountain Province Diamonds and Anglo America, we have new partners and friends that will help move our economy and our territory forward.
You have embraced our territory, not only as partners – but as upstanding corporate citizens. It’s a role that we already see reflected in the form of scholarships, training funds, community grants, sponsorships and investments in many of our communities and organizations. It is how you have chosen to do business here – and it does not go unnoticed.
The Government of the Northwest Territories is working to evolve and define our support for responsible explorers and operators like De Beers and Mountain Province, building on the Devolution agreement we signed just two short years ago.
Through the implementation of our Mineral Development Strategy, we are taking direct action to foster exploration and improve investment and operating conditions for current and future producers.
The socio-economic agreements that we have put in place are ensuring jobs, contracts and benefits in our communities.
Initiatives like co-management boards and resource revenue sharing agreements are building and advancing one of the most progressive Aboriginal engagement processes within mining in Canada today.
We have begun work to create a leading-edge Mineral Resources Act that will reflect and be responsive to the realities and priorities of our territory.
And as we look to the future, we have a tireless, dedicated group of individuals working to attract and connect even more communities, companies and projects.
As Gahcho Kue ramps up production, and we each continue down this path, it is important that we do so as partners.
We share many mutual goals and we have proven time and time again that we do great things when we work together.
The spirit of partnership that we have realized to date, and have seen in the conception and construction of this mine, gives me full confidence that we can expect great things from the life of Gahcho Kué.
I wish you all productive, safe and profitable days for the future.