Premier Bob McLeod's remarks at Dominion Diamond Corporation press conference

April 11, 2013
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

(April 11, 2013) - (Check against delivery)

Diamond mining is one of the most important sectors of the economy here in the Northwest Territories and our government welcomes today’s announcement from Dominion Diamonds. Today’s announcement reflects Dominion’s belief in the long-term prospects for the Northwest Territories diamond industry and their commitment to continued sustainable growth in the sector. Adding to their 40 percent stake in Diavik is a clear vote of confidence in the diamond sector. With the potential for development on adjacent properties, we hope to see the Northwest Territories continue to hold its place as one of the leading diamond exporters in the world.  

At the same time, I want to thank BHP for all they have done for the Northwest Territories and our diamond industry. Their work, and the diamonds from their Ekati Mine, have helped to make our territory a world leader in diamond production. They have also been great corporate citizens, active in the community in support of many causes. Through agreements with our government and communities they have also helped to ensure that our residents enjoy the benefits of development in our territory. I am pleased to know that Dominion will continue to meet those commitments.

I have known Bob Gannicott a long time and I appreciate his commitment to the Northwest Territories. He is a Northerner who had his start in mining here in Yellowknife. He knows this territory and knows its potential, and he knows how to take that potential and turn it into jobs for our residents, opportunities for our businesses and prosperity for our territory. I’ve talked to him and I know he has a lot of ideas for increasing the benefits that the people of the Northwest Territories get from diamond mining and I look forward to seeing those ideas put in place.

Bob is an example of what can be done when the people who know this territory the best, the people that live here, are making the decisions about how and where to develop our resources. We need more development like that and we expect to see that when our government takes on the responsibility for public lands, water and resources with the implementation of devolution in April 2014.

When the people who know this land and its resources the best are the ones making the decisions, we can expect a new era of responsible, sustainable growth and development for our people. That will be growth that will create opportunities for people in every community and region of the Northwest Territories and that will fully reflect our Northern priorities and values.

The future for the Northwest Territories is bright. We have enormous wealth in our natural resources, including not just diamonds, but also oil and gas, rare earths, base metals and hydro. With devolution on the horizon and the commitment and partnership of companies like Dominion Diamond Corporation and people like Bob Gannicott, I expect we will start to truly unlock that potential and create jobs and prosperity for all our people in all our regions.

Thank you.